Reading and math scores for Florida high school seniors remained flat between 2009 and 2013 on a respected national test, according to results released Wednesday.
Florida’s reading scores moved from from 283 to 286 on the National Assessment of Educational Progress, better known as “the nation’s report card,” while its math scores inched up from 148 to 149. Neither increase is considered statistically significant.
Nationally, NAEP scores were also flat in both subjects. In math, 25 percent of students tested at proficient or above; in reading, 36 percent. (The corresponding numbers for Florida: 19 percent and 36 percent.)
U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan called the results “troubling.”
“We project that our nation’s public schools will become majority-minority this fall – making it even more urgent to put renewed attention into the academic rigor and equity of course offerings and into efforts to redesign high schools,” he said in a written statement. “We must reject educational stagnation in our high schools, and as nation, we must do better for all students, especially for African-American and Latino students.”
Unlike NAEP results for fourth- and eighth-graders, which receive widespread attention when they are reported every two years, NAEP results for 12th graders come with significant caveats.
- Only a handful of states volunteer to participate. Florida was among 11 states that participated in 2009, the first time state-by-state results were reported, and among 13 states that participated in 2013.
- The data only extends back to 2009, so there aren’t any long-term trend lines yet.
- And because it involves 12th-graders, the results can be impacted by graduation rates.
The test sample now “includes more lower-performing students who would have dropped out in the past,” he told reporters in a conference call Tuesday. “So we’re sampling from a population that includes more weaker students than we had when the graduation rate was lower.”
Florida scores, then, would seem to be especially impacted. Over the past decade, it ranks No. 2 among states in improving grad rates, climbing 23 percentage points between 2000 and 2010, according to an Education Week analysis. Continue Reading →