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Press Release

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

DOE Press Office
(850) 245-0413

National Assessment Results Showcase Florida’s Long-Term Reading Successes

~ Florida one of only nine states to achieve significant increases in eighth grade reading scores ~

TALLAHASSEE – Education Commissioner Dr. Eric J. Smith today announced Florida's 2009 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) Reading results. The results show that Florida’s eighth-graders made significant increases in their overall reading scores this year, tripling the increase seen by the nation since 2007. Additionally, the state’s fourth-graders continue to outpace their national counterparts in reading by a large margin.

“These latest reading results represent what’s possible when dedicated teachers, involved communities and effective reform policies combine to benefit children,” said Commissioner Smith. “As exciting as these results are, I believe that the future holds even greater promise as we continue our efforts to secure Race to the Top funding and work to build on the solid foundation that has made our state so successful.”

Since 2003, every state in the nation has been required to participate in NAEP, so 2003 serves as the most accurate starting point for comparing long-term performance trends. The 2009 NAEP Reading results indicate that since 2003, Florida’s fourth and eighth grade students have increased their overall reading scores by eight and seven points respectively, compared to a four point gain for the nation’s fourth-graders and a one point gain for eighth-graders.

Florida’s gains on NAEP Reading can be attributed in part to the improvements of subgroups of the states’ students. Highlights of that progress from 2003 to 2009 include:

  • The scores of Florida’s African-American fourth and eighth grade students have increased 13 and 11 points respectively, compared to seven points for the nation’s African-American fourth-graders and one point for eighth-graders.
  • The scores of Florida’s Hispanic fourth and eighth grade students have increased 12 and nine points respectively, compared to five points for the nation’s Hispanic fourth-graders and four points for eighth-graders.
  • Florida’s fourth and eighth grade students with disabilities have increased their scores by 20 and 16 points respectively. This is compared to the nation’s increase of five points in both fourth and eighth grade.
  • Florida’s fourth and eighth grade low income students have increased their scores by 12 and 10 points respectively. This is compared to the nation’s increase of five points in fourth grade and three in eighth grade.
  • The scores of Florida’s English language learners in fourth and eighth grade have increased seven and eight points respectively, compared to two points for the nation’s ELL fourth-graders and decrease of three points for eighth-graders.

Florida has made a concerted effort over the last ten years to impact student achievement in reading. The state has required all school districts to have a detailed reading instruction plan for their students and has strongly encouraged the use of reading coaches, reading leadership teams, and reading focused professional development for faculty throughout the state. The state has also been active in pursuing grant programs such as Reading First, which have brought valuable funding into targeted school districts and schools.

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 12th 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 2009 NAEP Reading performance, visit www.nationsreportcard.gov. For charts depicting Florida's NAEP Reading results, visit www.fldoe.org/asp/naep/naep2009r.asp. For more information on Florida’s efforts to improve reading, visit www.justreadflorida.com.