Reading, mathematics, and science scores from five states show regional trends, mirror national challenges
WASHINGTON, Feb. 21, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) report card for the first time summarizes results in several subjects from multiple states--and holds clues to challenges and achievements from which other states may learn.
"Mega-States: An Analysis of Student Performance in the Five Most Heavily Populated States in the Nation" reveals demographic shifts and achievement trends in the most heavily populated states, whose students together represent nearly 40 percent of the nation's public school students. Decades of data and long-term trends collected in reading, mathematics, and science from the regionally representative "mega-states"--California, Florida, Illinois, New York, and Texas--provide a comprehensive portrait of student achievement in the midst of America's shifting demographics.
"By reflecting results from every region of our country, this report sheds light on the overall direction of educational progress, as other states are also experiencing the demographic and economic challenges similar to those the largest states face," said David P. Driscoll, chair of the National Assessment Governing Board. "This first-of-its-kind report has lessons for all, and is a tool that policymakers, parents, and educators should use to take stock of how the nation is doing, and to take steps to increase student achievement and close achievement gaps for children in all states."
The report presents academic performance for students in grades 4 and 8 in reading, mathematics, and science. The findings include average scores among the five states, as well as national averages and results among various demographic groups. Results are also reported at or above the Proficient achievement levels. While Basic denotes partial mastery of the prerequisite skills and knowledge fundamental for proficient work, Proficient represents solid academic performance.
Between 1990 and 2011, data show that, proportionately, the education system came to include more Hispanic students and fewer white students: In 1990, 7 percent of eighth-grade students nationally were Hispanic, compared with 23 percent in 2011. This shift happened in all five states to varying degrees. California saw an increase of 22 percentage points in its population of Hispanic students (from 30 to 52 percent), and New York's Hispanic population grew 9 percentage points in that time. Concurrently, the percentage of white students decreased in all states, most dramatically in California, Illinois, Texas and Florida.
In terms of performance, the report showed large gains for Hispanic students. Between 1992 and 2011, Hispanic fourth graders in New York made larger reading gains than their national peers, while the percentage of Hispanic fourth graders in Florida reading at or above Proficient in 2011 was higher than for the nation and the other mega-states. Hispanic eighth graders in Texas made academic gains in mathematics, bringing average scores up by 38 points since 1990. In 2011, Texas boasted the highest percentage of Hispanic eighth graders at or above Proficient compared with Hispanic peers in the nation and other mega-states. That same year, the percentages of Hispanic students performing at or above the Proficient level in mathematics and science in fourth grade were higher in Florida and Texas than in the nation.
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