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Nation’s Report Card Shows Improvements in States with Student-Centered Policies; Work Remains to Prepare All Students for Success

The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) data released today show mixed results nationally with strong improvements in Florida and other states that are embracing and faithfully implementing student-centered policies.

“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.

“While results are mixed nationally, there are some bright spots among states that have implemented student-centered policies,” said Patricia Levesque, CEO of the Foundation for Excellence in Education. “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, as the only state that showed improvement in all four NAEP assessments. 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.

“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,” said Levesque.

Success Stories

Florida and Mississippi are states that have embraced and faithfully implemented innovative, student-centered policies and, correspondingly, saw improvement in the 2017 NAEP results.

  • Florida maintained two decades of steady improvement. The Sunshine State has been a national leader in student-centered reforms and was the only state to post improvements in each of the four NAEP categories.

“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.”

  • In Mississippi, student results improved in 4th and 8th grade reading and 4th grade math, while holding steady in 8th grade 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.

“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.

  • Nationally, 25 states showed improvement in 8th grade reading scale scores, which is more than in any of the three other areas.

“This is a positive trend and researchers need to dig in deeper to see if there are any commonalities among the states with these improvements,” said Cari Miller, Policy Director of Early Literacy for the Foundation for Excellence in Education. “Literacy at all ages is the foundation for success in all academic areas and we encourage states to share best practices so all students can succeed.”

Digitally Based Assessments

Release of the 2017 NAEP results is occurring after a full transition to “digitally based assessments.” After more than 15 years of piloting and studying the impact of online NAEP items and testing, students joined the 21st century and took the test on tablets with attached keyboards rather than with paper and pencil for the first time.

“While researchers will likely be analyzing the impact of the shift to online administration for years to come, an important conversation should be occurring at the state level on the implications of the digital divide and the need to better prepare our students to use the technology tools of the 21st century,” Levesque said.

Next Steps

ExcelinEd will continue to analyze NAEP results and provide updated reviews from our team of policy experts. Please visit our blog for the latest on NAEP and other education news. And you can sign up for future releases by going here.