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Press Release

Thursday, January 9, 2014

DOE Press Office
850-245-0413

Florida Moves Up in Student Achievement

~ National report highlights academic performance and closing the poverty gap ~

Tallahassee, Fla., January 9, 2014 - Florida improved its national K-12 achievement ranking to 7th in the country, an increase from 12th last year according to the 2014 Quality Counts report issued today by Education Week. Florida also gets high marks for closing the poverty gap in both 4th and 8th grade reading and math, with higher rates than the nation as a whole.

The rankings highlight the Sunshine State's trend upward in NAEP (National Assessment of Educational Progress) achievement levels, achievement gains in reading and mathematics, reducing the poverty gap, increasing high school graduation and improved Advanced Placement scores as well as school finance.

Governor Scott said, "Today's news that Florida jumped to 7th nationwide in K-12 achievement is the result of great work by our teachers. Florida families depend on an education system that provides every student with a quality education, and that's why in our last budget we fought to provide our teachers with a pay raise and secured more than $1 billion in additional investments for K-12 education."

"I am proud of Florida's teachers who have worked so hard to help their students be successful," said Commissioner of Education Pam Stewart. "Their commitment and dedication is exemplary. Quality Counts is a respected publication and shows that the Sunshine State once again is an example for the rest of the nation."

Highlights of the 2014 Quality Counts report include:

  • Florida increased the percentage of students scoring proficient or higher on the 2013 NAEP reading and math assessments for both 4th and 8th grade. Florida's gains in average NAEP scores from 2003 to 2013 are higher than those of the nation.
  • Florida closed the poverty gap in reading and math for both 4th and 8th grade by 2.7 and 5.5 points respectively between 2003 and 2013. Florida is closing the gap at higher rates than the nation as a whole.
  • Florida ranks third for increasing its Advanced Placement (AP) scores and for increasing the percentage of 11th and 12th grade AP test takers scoring 3 or higher, up to 36.6 percent from 31.3 percent last year - a 26.4 point increase since 2000. The Sunshine State's AP performance and increases are higher than that of the nation.
  • Florida improved its rank on the chance for success measure and improved its rank to 12 on two sub measures for this metric - preschool enrollment and elementary reading (NAEP grade 4).
  • Florida ranks first on two of the four equity measures related to school finance - the McLoone Index that measures actual spending as a percent of the amount needed to bring all student funding to a median level, and the measure which evaluates the amount of disparity in district spending, meaning the Sunshine State leads the nation in the equal distribution of funds amongst its school districts.
  • Florida ranked 6th in last year's overall Quality Counts ranking nationally. The overall ranking was not completed this year as the "Education Week Research Center is taking the opportunity to review its indicators and grading framework.

For complete information on this year's report, visit 2014 Quality Counts.