Mega-States: An Analysis of Student Performance in the Five Most Heavily Populated States in the Nation

Mega States: An Analysis of Student Performance in the Five Most Heavily Populated States in the NationCalifornia, Florida, Illinois, New York, and Texas: Together, these five states educate nearly 40 percent of public school students and more than half of all English language learners in the land. But how well do they do this? This latest report from the National Center for Education Statistics explains. And the results are a mixed bag (nothing new to wonks who have read previous NAEP reports). California’s students gained, on average, twenty-six points in fourth-grade math since 1992, though their average scores in 2011 still lagged behind the national average. And Illinois’s eighth graders’ scores declined in reading and science—the only state where that happened. On the upside, though, Florida’s students made important reading gains: Its fourth graders improved by sixteen points, beating the national average gain (five points), while its eighth graders jumped eight points. While NAEP data are far from causal, Florida’s surge in reading may be due in part to its third-grade reading guarantee (a policy Ohio has recently adopted), and/or its Reading-First-like early-literacy initiative. Data lovers: dig in!

SOURCE: National Center for Education Statistics, The Nation’s Report Card: Mega-States: An Analysis of Student Performance in the Five Most Heavily Populated States in the Nation, (Washington, D.C.: National Center for Education Statistics, February 2013).

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