Florida has moved up to 47th on the ACT science exam in the just-released 2014 state rankings (thank you to Leslie Postal for posting the news about. the release and a more general look at Florida’s performance on School Zone). Florida students averaged 19.1 out of a possible 36 points on the exam, on which 23 is considered college-ready for science. It is the highest ranking Florida has achieved (out of 50 states plus the District of Columbia) since I started paying attention in 2010.
Well, except the news isn’t quite as good as I’m making it out to be. The three states below us (Mississippi, North Carolina and Hawaii) and the state tied with us for 47th (Louisiana) all had larger percentages of high school grads take the ACT than Florida did. 81% of Florida high school grads took the ACT, while 100% took the exam in Louisiana, Mississippi and North Carolina, where the test is required of all grads. In Hawaii, 90% took the test. The margin between the average scores in Florida (19.1) and the two states tied for 49th at 18.9 – Mississippi and North Carolina – suggests that if all Florida high school grads had taken the test that our state would have slipped back to 50th place.
The ACT science results provide one more bit of evidence that learning science is not a priority in Florida’s K-12 schools.