Putting Education Reform To The Test

Florida Leads Southern States In Meeting Education Goals

dsb nola / flickr

Despite questions about the state’s standardized testing, Florida is making progress — a lot of it — according to a report released by the Southern Regional Education Board (SREB).

Sixteen states adopted SREB goals 10 years ago to guide policymakers and education leaders.

Florida is outperforming other southern states in a variety of indicators, according to the 2012 progress report. Florida is among the leaders when it comes to qualified teachers, college and career readiness, and school leadership standards.

Highlights of the 2012 Progress Report on the Challenge to Lead Goals for Education:

  • The percentage of Florida 4th graders reading at or above the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) proficient level exceeded the national rate for their peers.
  • Florida’s 4th graders outperformed the nation and region in reading and math on NAEP at the basic level, and the state’s African-American and Hispanic students narrowed the achievement gap in NAEP reading and math at the basic level.
  • Since 2003, the percentage of Florida 8th graders reading at or above the NAEP basic level  increased five points, and the percentage of 8th graders performing at or above the NAEP basic level in math increased six points.
  • Participation of Florida students in Advanced Placement exceeded the national rate. In 2011, 47 percent of graduating seniors had taken at least one AP exam in high school, an increase of 25 percentage points since 2001.
  • The college graduation rate at Florida’s four-year public institutions exceeded the national rate.
  • By 2011, Florida had met and implemented all 10 Data Quality Campaign essential elements.

“Florida has worked very hard for more than a decade to implement sound education reform policies designed to improve academic proficiency and performance,” said Florida Education Commissioner Gerard Robinson.  “The report speaks to the outstanding increases in student success, and I am confident that Florida will continue making progress.”

Overall, the report finds that SREB states have been leading the nation in gains since 2002 in high school graduation rates as well as reading and math achievement.

What are the SREB goals? Adopted in 2002, they challenge the 16 SREB states to lead the nation in educational progress.

The goals are:

1. All children are ready for the first grade.

2. Achievement in the early grades for all groups of students exceeds national averages and performance gaps are closed.

3. Achievement in the middle grades for all groups of students exceeds national averages and performance gaps are closed.

4. All young adults have a high school diploma — or, if not, pass the GED tests.

5. All recent high school graduates have solid academic preparation and are ready for post-secondary education and a career.

6. Adults who are not high school graduates participate in literacy and job-skills training and further education.

7. The percentage of adults who earn postsecondary degrees or technical certificates exceeds national averages.

8. Every school has higher student performance and meets state academic standards for all students each year.

9. Every school has leadership that results in improved student performance — and leadership begins with an effective school principal.

10. Every student is taught by qualified teachers.

11. The quality of colleges and universities is regularly assessed and funding is targeted to quality, efficiency and state needs.

12. The state places a high priority on an education system of schools, colleges and universities that is accountable.


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