Florida’s low-income students fare quite well against their peers

Florida’s National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) results in reading and math place the Sunshine State squarely in the middle of the pack (except in 4th grade reading where Florida ranks in the top 10). But comparing states without controlling for demographic differences isn’t entirely fair.

Since every state has differences in student demographics, the most accurate way to compare states is to compare similar subgroups. And one of the best ways to judge the efficacy of a state’s education system is to see how it performs for the students in most need of help.

We looked at the results for low-income students by race in Florida and compared the results with their peers in other states. The table below provides both a raw score comparison with the national average and Florida’s rank for each subgroup. As you can see, Florida performs quite well.





UPDATE: Two points of praise for Florida on the NAEP 4th grade reading exam: Florida’s low-income Hispanic students beat the average (of all students regardless of race or income) in 18 states and D.C. Florida’s low-income black students best the average (of all students) in New Mexico and D.C.

Note: the reason there are not 51 places in the ranking is because not every state has a large enough sample size of the racial demographic group to compare with other states.

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BY Patrick R. Gibbons

Patrick Gibbons is public affairs manager at Step Up for Students and a research fellow for the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice. A former teacher, he lived in Las Vegas, Nev., for five years, where he worked as an education writer and researcher. He can be reached at (813) 498.1991 or emailed at pgibbons@stepupforstudents.org. Follow Patrick on Twitter: at @PatrickRGibbons and @redefinEDonline.