Friday, October 28, 2011
Ho hum, low-income students making 3 grade levels worth of gains in a decade in Florida and now being a full grade level ahead of Ohio’s low-income students, while Ohio’s low-income students have completely stagnated. Ho hum, closing the achievement gap whichplagues Ohio students and perpetuates poverty cycles. Whatever.
They’re right: Florida has indeed made huge gains in fourth grade reading in comparison to Ohio. I’ve corrected the earlier post and headline to reflect that. I apologize for the error.
Looking at test scores on the National Assessment of Educational Progress
, also called the NAEP of the Nation’s Report card, Florida
narrowed the gap between low-income and non-low income fourth grade students in reading from 1998 to 2009. Over roughly the same period (2002 to 2009) and also looking just at fourth grade students’ reading abilities, Ohio
The NAEP is given every other year. From 2003 to 2009, the percentage of low-income Ohio fourth graders who could read at grade level hovered at about 18 percent. In Florida, the percentage of low-income fourth graders at grade level in reading rose from 18 percent to 25 percent over the same period. (Data table
While those are significant gains, as we noted earlier, it is difficult to draw a direct line between the specific policies (including the Florida education policies School Choice Ohio recommends
for Ohio) and fourth grade reading scores in Florida.
The Fordham Institute’s Jamie Davies O’Leary writes
Of course, it’s difficult to credit any one of these reform ideas among all the noise and the variety of efforts happening in Florida across a decade. Ladner’s research brief
explores other possible reasons underlying the trends (demographic change? Class size? Preschool?). But one thing’s for sure – Florida has done something right when it comes to achieving hard-to-come-by improvements for demographic subgroups (on the NAEP, nonetheless). And that’s worth our attention.