Bright spots and challenges for Florida NAEP 2022


NAEP released 2022 state and large urban district data early this morning. Scores dropped in all four tested subjects (fourth and eighth grade math and reading) almost across the board. Nationally the drops were -3, -3, -5 and -8 points on fourth grade reading, eighth grade reading, fourth grade math and eighth grade math, respectively, from 2019. On these exams 10 points approximately equals a grade level of average progress, and the scores in 2019 were also generally down.

Florida’s scores fell in both math exams, held steady on fourth grade reading and declined modestly on eighth grade reading.

Some bright spots: Florida’s fourth grade reading performance still shines. For example, on the Trial Urban District Assessment (TUDA- the NAEP for select large urban districts) the three Florida districts ranked first, second and third with differences 14, 14 and 10 points above the national average for large cities nationwide. Florida students ranked third on fourth grade reading in 2022, and if Florida’s Hispanic students ranked seventh compared to statewide averages for all students.


Charter school students and students with disabilities also appear to be relative bright spots for Florida, but the overall challenge on the math front is considerable. And nationally the news is nothing short of a catastrophe, as you can see in the chart below by state:

If there is a silver lining here, it is that math is not as difficult to remediate as reading. Given these huge deficits and the even more gigantic amounts of unspent COVID-19 funding, let’s just say that a sense of urgency has been noticeably lacking. If you have children or grandchildren, I would advise you to get them to a math tutoring service ASAP- don’t give the system the chance to let them down again. Florida pioneered a micro-grant for the purposes of reading remediation; lawmakers would do well to do the same for mathematics.

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BY Matthew Ladner

Matthew Ladner is executive editor of NextSteps. He has written numerous studies on school choice, charter schools and special education reform, and his articles have appeared in Education Next; the Catholic Education: A Journal of Inquiry and Practice; and the British Journal of Political Science. He is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin and received a master's degree and a Ph.D. in political science from the University of Houston. He lives in Phoenix with his wife and three children.

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