Think tank the Grattan Institute compared NAPLAN results on a state by state basis, focusing on student progress over the course of their education.
The report found Queensland primary school students make two months more progress in reading than the national average between years three and five, and about one month's more progress in numeracy.
“Governments should investigate why students make more progress in some states than others, with the goal of identifying the teacher practices and school policies that produce the best results for our children," the Grattan Institute's Peter Goss said.
The report, released on Tuesday, found students in the ACT were two to three months behind in progress compared with the national average in both years three to five at a primary school level, and between years seven and nine in secondary school.
The study also found that students in years seven to nine at low-achieving schools made half the progress in numeracy compared with students in higher achieving schools.
In reading, students in lower achieving schools made 30 per cent of the progress of better performing schools.
“This finding should ring alarm bells in cabinet rooms and education departments across Australia,” Goss said.
“If governments are serious about delivering on the Gonski vision of ‘at least one year’s growth in learning for every student every year’, then disadvantaged schools must be a big priority.”