Putting Education Reform To The Test

Closing Florida’s Achievement Gap

Marcin Wichary / Flickr

Florida's black and Hispanic students are closing the difference with white classmates faster than the national average.

Florida’s black and Hispanic students trail their white classmates by smaller margins than the national average, according to the National Assessment of Educational Progress results released Tuesday.

And Florida has been closing difference in reading and math scores between white and black and Hispanic students faster than the national average over the past decade.

Eliminating the so-called achievement gap is a major goal of the federal No Child Left Behind education law. Tests such as NAEP allow states and researchers to break down test scores by most demographic possibilities.

2011 NAEP results show testing gains have stalled and Florida ranks in the bottom half of states on everything except 4th grade reading scores. But Florida’s ability to reduce the achievement gap is a silver lining.

So what’s the data say?

The NAEP measures 4th- and 8th- grade performance for both math and reading.

In every case, the difference in scores between white students and black or Hispanic students is less than the national average.

The achievement gap for Hispanic students is often at least 9 points less than the national average, including 4th grade reading and 8th grade math and reading scores. That equates to nearly a grade level of additional learning on the NAEP’s 500-point scale.

The achievement gap for Florida’s black students is equal to or slightly less than the national average. But Florida’s black students have closed the difference with white classmates more quickly than the national average since 2003.

The state Department of Education touted some of these victories in a statement. Check out the NAEP scores for yourself.


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