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Press Release

Thursday, February 21, 2013

DOE Press Office
850-245-0413

Florida Students Outshine Students in Large Mega-States

Tallahassee, Fla., February 21, 2013 - Florida fourth- and eighth-grade students outperformed their peers in reading and mathematics according to a new National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) report that analyzed student performance over two decades in the five most heavily-populated states in the country. The study compares Florida with California, Texas, New York, and Illinois, as well as with the nation. Florida has made some of the greatest learning gains in both mathematics and reading, especially when compared to the other large states.

"These learning gains demonstrate Florida's teachers and principals are doing an increasingly better job of educating our children, particularly those student populations that have been underserved in the past," said Commissioner of Education Dr. Tony Bennett. "They also confirm there is still work to do. Florida must continue to be data-driven as we work to support teachers in developing the next set of solutions."

Florida gained 16 points on the grade four NAEP reading scale score from 1992 to 2011, leading all the other Mega-States and the nation. Florida eighth graders also fared well in reading, increasing 8 points from 1998 to 2011 and highest of the Mega-States.

Average reading score changes for fourth-grade
public school students between 1992 and 2011
State Scale Score Change
Florida
16
California
9
New York
8
Texas
6
Nation
5
Illinois*
3
Average reading score changes for eighth-grade
public school students between 1998 and 2011
State Scale Score Change
Florida
8
California
3
Nation
3
New York
1
Texas
0
Illinois*
-1

Florida fourth graders picked up steam in mathematics as well with a 26-point gain from 1992-2011, while the national average rose 22 points. Florida's 23-point increase in eighth-grade math was above the national average, second to Texas and tied statistically with Illinois and New York.

Average mathematics score changes for fourth-grade public school students between 1992 and 2011
State Scale Score Change
Florida
26
California
26
Texas
23
Nation
22
New York
19
Illinois*
16
Average mathematics score changes for eighth-grade public school students between 1990 and 2011
State Scale Score Change
Texas
32
Florida
23
Illinois*
23
Nation
21
New York
20
California
16

Florida's fourth-grade Hispanic students scored at or above Proficient on NAEP reading in 2011, the highest percentage of the five Mega-States.

graph shows the percentage of fourth-grade public school students at or above proficient in NAEP reading 2011 which are as follows
White students
42  Nation
40 California
48 Florida
45 Illinois
45 New York
45 Texas

Black students
16 Nation
19 California
17 Florida
12 Illinois
18 New York
18 Texas

Hispanic students
18Nation
12 California
30 Florida
18 Illinois
20 New York
19 Texas

Additionally, 27 percent of Florida eighth-grade Hispanic students scored at or above Proficient in NAEP reading, higher than the national average of 18 percent.

graph shows the percentage of eight-grade public school students at or above proficient in NAEP reading 2011 which are as follows White students
41 Nation
35 California
38 Florida
44 Illinois
46 New York
42 Texas

Black students
14 Nation
11 California
14 Florida
15 Illinois
18 New York
15 Texas

Hispanic students
18 Nation
14 California
27 Florida
23 Illinois
20 New York
17 Texas

The NAEP report on the five Mega-States looked at proficiency in science in addition to reading and mathematics, but science performance information is not available for the same time period as it is for reading and mathematics. The NAEP science test was given to fourth graders in 2009 and eighth graders in 2009 and 2011. In 2009, Florida's fourth graders had a higher scale score than the nation and the other Mega-States. In 2011, 26 percent of Florida's eighth-grade science students in city schools scored at or above Proficient; only Texas was higher. Florida's Hispanic eighth graders scored higher than other eighth graders in science as well, with 24 percent of students scoring at or above Proficient.

All of this progress has taken place in a state that is defined by its cultural and socioeconomic diversity. Florida schools serve the third-largest population of English language learners in the nation. In 2010, more than one-third of the nation's public school students attended school in the Mega-States, which now serve more than half of the nation's English language learners, as well as some of the largest concentrations of children from lower-income families.

Florida also has the highest percentage of students eligible for free and reduced-price school lunches of the five Mega-States. As policymakers and educators look at the nation's changing demographics and explore ways to close achievement gaps, the educational progress of children in these five states is of interest far beyond their state borders.

For more information about Florida's performance in the NAEP Mega-States report, visit www.nationsreportcard.gov.

*Illinois did not participate or did not meet the minimum participation guidelines or reporting at the state level prior to 2003