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PRESS RELEASE

April 3, 2008

Tom Butler
(850) 245-0413

Florida’s Minority Students Rank Top of the Nation in 2007 NAEP Writing Results
~ The performance of Florida’s eighth graders moved the state to ninth in the nation overall ~

TALLAHASSEE - Education Commissioner Eric J. Smith today announced that Florida’s Hispanic students rank second in the nation, and African-American students fourth, in the number of students scoring Proficient and above on the 2007 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) Grade Eight Writing assessment. Overall, Florida improved its ranking to ninth in the nation for students scoring Proficient and above; two places higher than in 2002 and 16 places higher than in 1998.

"Our students continue to make significant academic progress at the national level and these results are the latest evidence that their hard work is truly paying off," said Commissioner Smith. "I commend them on this tremendous achievement and thank our teachers, principals and parents for fostering the supportive environments needed for such success."

The results also indicate that Florida is now equal to or above the national average in nearly every scoring category and student subgroup. In comparison, Florida’s 1998 NAEP Writing performance placed it equal to or below the national average in these same measures.

A score of Proficient and above on the NAEP Writing assessment indicates a high level of student performance in this subject area. Students who achieve this score have demonstrated competency over challenging subject matter, including subject-matter knowledge, application of that knowledge to real-world situations, and analytical skills appropriate to the subject matter. A score of Proficient and above on the NAEP assessment is comparable to a score of 4.5 – 5.5 (out of six) on the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT) Writing essay.

Known as the "Nation's Report Card," the NAEP is a congressionally mandated project overseen by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) 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 12th grade students, providing data about students' performance in a variety of subject areas at national, regional and state levels.

For more information regarding the 2007 NAEP Grade Eight Writing assessment, visit www.nationsreportcard.gov. For charts depicting Florida's 2007 NAEP Writing results, visit http://www.fldoe.org/asp/naep/.