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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Report: Florida made big gains in math, reading compared with other large states



A first-time report released Thursday on the nation's five most heavily populated states, or "megastates," shows that Florida students made some of the most significant gains over 19 years on closely-watched federal tests.

Of these large, diverse states, only Florida saw its fourth-graders come from behind to surpass the national average in reading. A 16-point gain on the 500-point National Assessment of Educational Progress — often nicknamed "The Nation's Report Card" — brought Florida's fourth-graders from well below the national average to just above.

"I am fairly confident in saying there is something real going on there," said Jack Buckley, commissioner of the National Center for Education Statistics.

Florida's eighth-graders, alone among their megastates peers, showed a statistically significant improvement on the reading test. Climbing eight points, they now meet the national average.

In math, Florida was the only one of the five states to see its fourth-graders claim larger gains since 1992 than the rest of the nation. Florida eighth-graders also improved their math scores, although they still fell short of the national average.

The report, produced by the U.S. Department of Education, compared Florida with California, Illinois, New York and Texas. Combined, the five megastates enroll nearly 40 percent of the nation's public school students and are home to almost one-third of the nation's public schools.

Read the full story here.

[Last modified: Thursday, February 21, 2013 1:21pm]


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