Statement from Patricia Levesque, Executive Director for the Foundation for Florida’s Future, on today’s results from the 2019 National Assessment of Education Progress:
“The Florida results from 2019 Nation’s Report Card are disappointing but not unexpected. When we don’t regularly raise the bar in how we grade schools, we have flat or declining performance. It has been a long time since the State Board of Education has raised the bar in school grades – in fact, the longest period in our 20 years of school grading.
It is also not surprising that our 8th graders continue to struggle to beat the national average on the NAEP, since the performance expectations we have set on our state test are so far below the NAEP expectations. It is especially disappointing that after making significant gains, the achievement gap on 8th grade reading between the state average and low-income and minority students has regressed to the same level as 1998.
Forty-three states and the District of Columbia have aligned their expectations for student proficiency on their state test with NAEP proficiency. Florida did not, leaving a 22 point and 33 point gap in reading and math respectively on the bar we ask 8th graders to meet on our state test, compared to the bar that the NAEP test sets for 8th graders.
The highest performing state in the country, Massachusetts, has no gap.
* FSA math percent proficient in 2019 is 46%, inclusion of Algebra I and Geometry for grade 8 students increases the proficiency to 64% for all grade 8 students.
The good news is that Florida can move forward with a few simple actions and investments:
- The State Board of Education should raise the bar on the school grading scale and reinstate the automatic escalator that allows the scale to increase gradually over time as school performance increases.
- The State Board of Education should ensure that the cut scores on the 8th grade reading and math tests are aligned with NAEP proficiency the next time Florida moves to new tests aligned to new standards.
- The Legislature should reinstate the responsibility and funding for professional development in science-based reading instruction with the Just Read, Florida! office.
We look forward to working with educators and policymakers immediately to ensure Florida remains one of the nation’s shining examples of student-centered success.