At the end of October, scores were released for the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), also known as “The Nation’s Report Card,” that continue to have implications for education at national, state, and district levels.
The scores have become part of an ongoing debate on how best to set passing scores on the new Florida Standards Assessment (FSA). Some State Board of Education members, as well as advocacy groups including the Foundation for Excellence in Education, have called for setting new FSA “passing” scores to align with NAEP’s tougher proficiency levels. State Commissioner Pam Stewart, as well as a majority of Florida’s superintendents, have disagreed, calling instead for score cutoffs that do not inflate poor scores in Florida.
The debate stems partly from an effort by some groups to increase honesty and accountability for disappointing NAEP scores for Florida, particularly for 8th graders. Nationally, scores dropped for the first time since 1990. The State Board of Education will have a meeting to further discuss score cutoffs in December and will vote on the issue in January.
In Duval County, however, NAEP scores had more positive implications. As a district, Duval ranked highly among the 21 large urban districts, which all center around cities or metropolitan areas. Performance for these urban districts is difficult to accurately compare to other types of school districts, as urban districts face additional challenges like larger populations, more schools, and greater diversity in socio-economic status, language, and ethnicity. As a result, comparisons between Duval and other large urban districts are especially meaningful in measuring Duval’s educational progress.
Some of the most exciting results from Duval’s NAEP scores are that our county’s African-American students and students with disabilities show a smaller achievement gap than other districts in the U.S., meaning that:
There is a relatively smaller gap in scores between African-American students and white students in Duval County
There is a relatively smaller gap in scores between students with disabilities and students without disabilities in Duval County
Additionally, Duval’s African-American students and students with disabilities performed well above the national urban district average and also above the total national average in their respective categories.
Below, we’ve created a data visualization tool that makes it easier to see view all of this information. You can compare Duval County’s NAEP scores to scores of other large urban districts in Florida (including Hillsborough County and Miami-Dade County), state and national averages, and the national average for large urban districts. Also included are interactive visuals showing scores for African-American students and students with disabilities.
As you look through the visualizations below, consider what it might mean for our schools and district if FSA results generally mirrored the results below, and add your voice to the conversation in the comments below.