Of the students in Florida’s high school graduating class of 2016, 81% took the ACT. Twenty-two other states had ACT participation rates higher than Florida’s, including eighteen where the exam was required for all high school students. It’s fair to look at how Florida results stack up against these twenty-two states. The state-by-state results were supplied by ACT.
The four plots shown below compare the average scores that Florida students earned on the four ACT sections to the other high-participation states. As you might expect, Florida high schoolers performed reasonably well compared to the competition in reading, significantly weaker in math, and much weaker in science and English. This is the result of Florida’s nearly 20-year-old emphasis on reading and the failure to make the investments necessary to improve student achievement in math and science. (Although…English?)
But the more important point to make is this: The ACT provides an easily interpreted means for Florida parents and voters to compare the achievement of Florida’s students directly to that of students in other states. The present FSA and EOC tests presently required of the state’s high school students do not provide that. A switch from the state’s present high school testing program to the ACT is therefore in order. And…since the vast majority of Florida’s students take the ACT, replacing the high school FSA and EOC exams with the ACT would reduce the testing load on the state’s high schoolers.
Who could argue with that?