2009 NAEP Science: Is science a priority in Florida’s K-12 schools?
The figure compares Florida’s performance on the 2009 reading, math and science NAEP (National Assessment of Educational Progress) tests to that of the nation. The y-axis is the difference between the % proficient in Florida and the nation. If the data point is above zero for a given test and grade, then Florida is ahead of the nation. If the data point is below zero, Florida is behind.
By this measure, Florida is ahead of the nation for 4th grade reading and 4th grade math. The state is at the national % proficient rate for 8th grade reading. Florida is behind the nation in 4th grade science, 8th grade math and science, and in 12th grade reading and math. State-by-state results were not released for 12th grade science. (State-by-state results for 12th grade reading and math were released for eleven individual states, including Florida, for the first time this year.)
Eleven years into the A+ plan initiated by Governor Jeb Bush, the state has made progress relative to the nation in reading for 4th and 8th grade and math for 4th grade. But Florida students continue to lag the nation in science at both 4th and 8th grades.
Do we know anything about the science competency of our 12th graders? Sure. Florida is 50th in the nation on the science section of the ACT.
So what have Florida’s priorities been during the A+ era? The story is told by the banner that hung from the headquarters of the Florida Department of Education: “Just Read, Florida!” Math has lagged, and science has lagged even more.
Florida will begin to achieve in science when the state’s leaders decide that science should be a priority. As a health care executive, Governor Scott certainly understands the importance of science to the state’s economy. Will he speak up? Our Commissioner of Education is a former high school science teacher, but he can be forgiven for being more than a little careful given the uncertainties of the transition. What can we expect from the Governor’s education advisor, Michelle Rhee? From her track record in DC, we’d conclude that Ms. Rhee doesn’t seem to have much interest in science. Is there a science champion on the Florida Board of Education? I haven’t seen one. What about the leaders of our school districts? The Florida School Boards Association has made it a legislative priority to water down both the new high school graduation requirements and the new science standards.
So who will speak up for science in Florida? Maybe no one. But you just never know. We’ll continue to hope.Explore posts in the same categories: Uncategorized