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PRESS RELEASE

October 19, 2005

Deena Reppen
(850) 488-5394 or
Jennifer Fennell
(850) 245-0413

Governor Bush and Commissioner Winn Announce Results of 2005 National Assessment of Educational Progress

TALLAHASSEE — Governor Jeb Bush and Education Commissioner John L. Winn today announced Florida's results of the 2005 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). Florida again surpassed the national average in fourth grade reading and bettered the national average in fourth grade mathematics for the first time. Hispanic and African-American students continued their positive trends in reading and mathematics, exceeding national performance levels, and students with disabilities in Florida ranked above the national average for the first time.

"Spurring academic achievement, raising accountability standards and measuring progress are delivering results at all levels," said Governor Bush. "I am grateful to the teachers, principals and parents whose focus on quality education is contributing to the gains of Florida's students, regardless of their ethnic background."

African American and Hispanic fourth grade students made gains from 2003:

  • African-American students improved by five points in reading (from 198 to 203), bettering the national gain of two points (from 197 to 199) and outperforming 30 out of 43 states. Florida's improvement among African-American students since 1998 is more than twice the national average (17 compared to 7).
  • African-American students improved by nine points in math (from 215 to 224), more than double the national gain of four points (from 216 to 220) and outperforming 33 out of 43 states. Since 1996, Florida's African-American fourth grade mathematics scores have improved 31 points compared to the national improvement of 21 points.
  • Hispanic students improved by four points in reading (from 211 to 215), compared to the national gain for Hispanic students of two points (from 199 to 201). Florida's improvement among Hispanic students since 1998 is nearly twice the national average (17 compared to 9).
  • Hispanic students improved by one point in math (from 232 to 233), eight points above the national average for Hispanic students.

African American and Hispanic eighth grade students made gains from 2003:

  • Reading achievement among Florida's Hispanic eighth-graders improved one point (from 251 to 252), exceeding the national average by seven points (252 compared to 245).
  • Mathematics scores for Florida's minority students improved from previous years, with Hispanic students scoring four points above the national average (265 compared to 261).

"I am tremendously encouraged by the increases in Florida's fourth grade reading and math achievement, which supports the notion that setting high academic standards and measuring performance is the best way to produce results for our students," said Commissioner Winn. "There is more work to be done, however. Florida must forge ahead by enacting additional reform measures that will enable our middle school students to mirror the same successes achieved by our elementary students."

Students with disabilities made significant gains from 2003:

  • Fourth grade students improved 13 points in reading (from 184 to 197), surpassing the national average score of 190, and improved 13 points in math (from 214 to 227), nine points above the national average of 218.
  • Eighth grade students realized a five point gain in reading (from 223 to 228), two points greater than the national average of 226, and a 13-point increase in math (from 235 to 248), exceeding the national average of 244 by four points.

"I am especially proud of the progress our minority students and students with disabilities have made," said Commissioner Winn. "All children, regardless of their backgrounds, have the ability to learn and Florida students have proven that to be true time and time again."

Compared to 2003:

  • Fourth grade students improved one point in reading (from 218 to 219), matching the national increase (from 216 to 217) and outperforming 44 percent of other states. Florida's improvement since 1998 is more than three times the national gain (13 compared to 4).
  • Fourth grade students surpassed the national average in math for the first time (239 compared to 237), outperforming 52 percent of other states.
  • Eighth grade reading scores dipped one point (from 257 to 256), mirroring the national average drop (from 261 to 260). While the national average dropped one point below its 1998 level of 261, the average score in Florida remains higher than it was in 1998 (256 compared to 255).
  • Eighth grade students improved in math (from 271 to 274), but remain four points below the national average.

Known as the "nation's report card," the NAEP is a congressionally mandated project overseen by the National Center for Education Statistics to continuously monitor the knowledge, skills and performance of the nation's children and youth. Since 1969, NAEP has measured and reported on the knowledge and abilities of America's fourth, eighth and twelfth grade students, providing data about students' performance in a variety of subject areas at national, regional and state levels.

For more information regarding Florida's performance on the 2005 NAEP Reading and Mathematics, visit www.nationsreportcard.gov. For charts depicting Florida's NAEP results (PDF, 128KB), visit www.fldoe.org.