Florida Breaks into Top 10 Nationally in K-12 Student Achievement

By: Allison Nielsen | Posted: January 9, 2014 1:15 PM
Student Testing

Florida is making its mark -- and making improvements -- in K-12 student achievement, according to the 2014 Quality Counts report released Thursday by Education Week. Florida improved its national K-12 achievement ranking to 7th in the country, an increase from 12th last year.

Florida received a letter grade of a "C"  in K-12 achievement. The average state grade was a "C-".

Florida received an "A" grade for transitions and alignment as well as standards, assessments, and accountability. The state received a "B" letter grade for the teaching profession. All three letter grades were higher than the average state grade.

The rankings highlighted the Sunshine State’s trend upward in NAEP (National Assessment of Educational Progress) achievement levels. Both 4th grade reading and 8th grade reading levels showed improvement in Florida.

Florida’s graduation rate change put it at No. 2 in the country, with a 23 percent increase from 2000-2010.

While Florida scored above the average state grade in some areas, it fell below the average in others.

Florida ranked 32nd in the chances for success category, receiving a letter grade of a “C” for the category.

The chance for success index combined information from 13 indicators that span a person’s life from cradle to career. According to the report, the Chance for Success framework “allows states to identify strong and weak links in their residents’ educational life course ― their typical trajectory from childhood through adulthood.”

Florida ranked 45th in the family income category, which measures the percentage of children from families with incomes at least 200% of poverty level. The state ranked 48th in the category for adults with incomes at or above the national median.

Florida also received a “C-” in the report’s school finance analysis, putting the Sunshine State at 36th for the category. A further breakdown of the category showed Florida received 47.7 percent on spending, a number nearly 20 percentage points below the national average of 65.4 percent.

Gov. Rick Scott praised the results, attributing Florida's success to "great work" done by teachers in the Sunshine State.

“Today’s news that Florida jumped to 7th nationwide in K-12 achievement is the result of great work by our teachers," said Scott. "Florida families depend on an education system that provides every student with a quality education, and that’s why in our last budget we fought to provide our teachers with a pay raise and secured more than $1 billion in additional investments for K-12 education.”

Commissioner of Education Pam Stewart echoed Scott's praise for Florida's teachers.

“I am proud of Florida’s teachers who have worked so hard to help their students be successful,” she said. “Their commitment and dedication is exemplary. Quality Counts is a respected publication and shows that the Sunshine State once again is an example for the rest of the nation.”

Reach Tampa-based reporter Allison Nielsen at or follow her on Twitter at @AllisonNielsen. 

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