Florida Ranks 4th in the Nation for K-12 Student Achievement


September 6, 2018

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Florida Ranks 4th in the Nation for K-12 Student Achievement

TALLAHASEEE, Fla., September 6, 2018 – Commissioner Pam Stewart today announced that Florida ranks 4th in the nation for K-12 student achievement, according to Education Week’s Quality Counts 2018 report. The annual report compares state-by-state data and trends to gauge students’ opportunities for success and considers achievement levels, achievement gains, poverty gap, achieving excellence, high school graduation and Advanced Placement. 

Florida Department of Education Commissioner Pam Stewart said, “It is no coincidence that Florida is leading the nation in K-12 student achievement. Governor Scott has invested record funding in education to ensure every Florida student has access to the world-class education they deserve. That is only possible with strong accountability and high-quality instruction. We have incrementally and strategically increased standards for both students and educators, which has resulted in students being more prepared for future success than ever before. We remain committed to serving in the best interests of Florida’s families, and we look forward to celebrating our state’s continued achievements in education.”

This news comes on the heels of a series of positive education-related announcements this year. In April, Governor Scott announced that Florida was the only state to have improved significantly in grade 4 mathematics, grade 8 reading and grade 8 mathematics on the 2017 National Assessment of Educational Progress assessments. Then, in June, he announced that school grades for the 2017-18 school year demonstrated continued school improvement. Today, 58 percent of Florida schools are rated “A” or “B” and only 7 percent are rated “D” or “F.”

Highlights of the Quality Counts 2018 report include:

  • Florida’s overall rank for the K-12 Achievement category increased from 11 to 4.
  • Florida outperformed the nation in every measure of achievement gains, poverty gap and Advanced Placement – 14 of the 18 achievement measures overall.
  • Florida is ranked 2nd for improvement in both grade 4 reading and mathematics.
  • Florida is ranked 3rd for improvement in grade 8 reading.

BACKGROUND: ATTRIBUTING OUR SUCCESS

  • Florida has rigorous standards (Florida Standards) that guide instruction in all K-12 courses and grade levels, and the statewide standardized assessments are aligned to the Florida Standards. The Florida Standards were established with input from thousands of Florida stakeholders, including educators and local education leaders, students, parents and many other members of the public.
     
  • Florida has been a national leader in developing and refining school-based accountability for two decades. In that time, the standards and statewide assessments became more rigorous. As a result, student performance has improved continually.
     
  • As Florida raised standards for students, teacher certification exams became more rigorous to ensure that newly certified teachers have the skills and knowledge necessary to prepare students for college and career. Florida has also made available objective information regarding impact of teachers on student learning and has raised the bar on its teacher preparation programs’ accountability system.
     
  • Florida’s accountability system highlights the areas in which districts are earning high marks, as well as where there is room for significant improvement. Using this information, the Florida Department of Education offers additional support and services, and the State Board of Education has the authority to direct administrators to implement student-focused changes. 
     
  • Florida statute outlines the steps school districts must take when one or more schools earn a D or F, and these policies have gotten increasingly stringent in recent years. The State Board of Education has made it abundantly clear that it will honor its responsibility to all Florida’s students. By ensuring there is a focus on low-performing schools, Florida is taking every step possible to make sure all Florida students have access to the public education system they deserve.

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