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#AskExcelinEd: 2017 NAEP results are finally out – what does the data tell us so far?

• ExcelinEd

Yesterday, the National Assessment Governing Board released the 2017 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) Reading and Mathematics in grades 4 and 8 showing mixed results nationally with strong improvements in states that are embracing and faithfully implementing student-centered policies. As Dr. Christy Hovanetz, ExcelinEd’s Senior Policy Fellow and Jim Hull, ExcelinEd’s Policy Impact Director dive into the data, #AskExcelinEd will bring you in-depth analysis on states’ performance and trends, the real story behind successes and where strong, bold actions on policy can help improve education outcomes for students.

Nationally, 25 states showed improvement in their 8th grade reading scale score. The 2017 National Public Average did not change from 2015 for 4th grade reading, decreased for 4th grade math and increased for 8th grade reading and math. Today, we bring your attention to Florida and Mississippi – states that have embraced and faithfully implemented innovative, student-centered policies and, correspondingly, saw improvement in the 2017 NAEP results. These states have diligently maintained their focus on early reading, rigorous standards, accountability for schools and empowering parents with more public and private education options. 


Florida made more progress than any other state in the nation in 2017. Florida maintains two decades of steady improvement and is the only state to show statistically significant improvement on three of the four assessments, grades 4 and 8 math and grade 8 reading. The Sunshine State continues to be a national leader in student-centered reforms. 

Florida students outperformed the nation in grades 4 and 8 Reading and grade 4 Mathematics in 2017. All of Florida’s student subgroups – White, Black, Hispanic, Asian/Pacific Islander, students eligible for free/reduced lunch, students with disabilities and English language learners – significantly outperformed their national peers in grade 4 Mathematics. All of Florida’s student subgroups outperformed their national peers in grade 4 Reading, and many of them significantly outperformed their national peers.  

What they are saying about Florida

  • “By remaining focused for two decades on early reading, accountability for schools, rewarding great teachers and empowering parents with more education options, Florida remains a role model for other states in raising student achievement. Today’s results also underscore we have so much farther to go as a nation in providing a quality education to every student, ” said Governor Jeb Bush, Founder and Chairman of the Foundation for Excellence in Education. 
  • “Today’s NAEP results confirm that our students succeed when Florida maintains high standards and transparency,” said Rep. Manny Diaz. “I’m proud of our students, teachers, and principals for rising to the challenge and exceeding expectations.” 
  • “Improved reading results in the Sunshine State are the result of strong leadership from Florida’s policymakers and incredible work performed each and every day by teachers and families across the state,” said Vance Aloupis, CEO of The Children’s Movement of Florida. “We will continue working to ensure every child has the ability to pursue success in the classroom and in everyday life.” 
  • “Florida needs a world-class educational system to ensure long-term economic growth and the vitality of our state in an ever-changing business climate. The NAEP results show Florida is on the right path, but that success is never final. We are fortunate to have had decades of strong leadership committed to not only improving academic outcomes but maintaining that focus to help every child find success in school and in life,” said Bob Ward, President of the Florida Council of 100. 
  • “Florida will add almost six million residents by 2030, creating the need for two million more jobs by the time many of today’s kindergartners look to join the workforce. Today’s results show that Florida continues to be a national model in boldly seizing innovative policies to ensure today’s learners are best prepared to be tomorrow’s earners in the new global economy,” said Mark Wilson, president and CEO of the Florida Chamber of Commerce. 


In Mississippi, student results improved in 4th and 8th grade reading and 4th grade math, while holding steady in 8th grade math. And nationally, 25 states showed improvement in their 8th grade reading scale score. The 2017 National Public Average did not change from 2015 for 4th grade reading, decreased for 4th grade math and increased for 8th grade reading and math.  The state has been a national leader in focusing on critical reforms on reading while setting high expectations for all students as evidenced in their rigorous A-F school accountability system. 

Mississippi is a national leader in improvements on the NAEP.  Mississippi showed a significant increase in 8th grade Reading where the scale score rose 4.4 points, from 252 in 2015 to 256 in 2017, the greatest improvement nationally, and raising the percent of students proficient to 25%, up from 20 percent in 2015. 

What they are saying about Mississippi

  • “After embracing innovative, student-centered policies, adopting comprehensive reforms and setting higher expectations for children, we have seen consistent improvement in NAEP scores for multiple years,” said Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant. “The results of the Nation’s Report Card indicate these reforms are yielding positive results. I am grateful to everyone who has helped us with these efforts.” 
  • “Commitment to higher academic standards, an intense focus on literacy, effective professional development and the hard work of teachers and administrators resulted in Mississippi students progressing on the NAEP and significantly increasing performance in 8th grade reading. We cannot let up on higher expectations for students,” said Dr. Carey Wright, state superintendent of education. 

Where do we go from here?

It is also clear that we need to do more for all students, especially those in traditionally underserved areas including rural, minority and low-income families. A strong education that prepares students for success in school and in careers remains the best way to lift families and our nation toward success. Stay tuned to #AskExcelinEd as we tackle these issues with proven policy and consistent implementation strategies for states.   

Do you have a question about the 2017 NAEP data? Let us know and we will discuss and analyze it on the blog. Use #AskExcelinEd on Twitter to post your question. Please visit our blog for the latest on NAEP and other education news.

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