Study Shows Florida 4th Graders Are Global Leaders in Reading Scores

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Governor's Press Office Release

Tallahassee, Fla., December 11, 2012 – Today, Governor Rick Scott applauded the success of Florida fourth and eighth grade students who earned impressive scores on international reading, mathematics, and science assessments according to results released today by the National Center for Education Statistics. Results of the 2011 Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS) and the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) show that Florida students outperformed many of their national and global counterparts on both tests.

Governor Scott said, “For families to benefit from the expanding global economy, Florida students must compete and succeed with students internationally. This report is great news for Florida as our state becomes a hub for global commerce, and grows jobs aimed at meeting the world’s needs. We’ll continue taking steps to enhance Florida’s K-12 system so every Florida child has access to a quality education.”

“I am extremely pleased that Florida students have once again shown that our state’s long-term commitment to academic success is paying off,” said Commissioner of Education Pam Stewart. “As we move forward to implement more rigorous standards, I am confident we are on the right path to move even higher. My thanks and appreciation to our educators, parents, and school leaders for their exceptional commitment to student educational achievement.”

The reports compare the performance of U.S. fourth-grade students in reading, mathematics, and science, and eighth-grade students in mathematics and science to their peers internationally. TIMSS is an international assessment of mathematics and science knowledge and skills at the fourth and eighth grades given every four years. PIRLS is an international assessment of fourth-grade reading comprehension conducted every five years. The results are reported as scale scores – a conversion of raw scores to a common scale – that allows for a numerical comparison between education systems.

Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS)

The average scale score of Florida fourth-grade students is 569. That is the second highest among 53 participating education systems, above the U.S. average of 556, and significantly higher than the PIRLS average scale score of 500. In addition, Florida ranked second behind Singapore in the percentage of fourth-grade students scoring in the advanced level, with 22 percent of students reaching that benchmark. Florida was the only state in the US to participate at a level that allows state-level data to be reported.

Associated Press Release

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) -- Florida's on top of the world when it comes to reading.

Hong Kong had a slightly better overall fourth-grade reading score last year than Florida, but an international study released Tuesday concluded they were not measurably different.

Florida's 2011 fourth- and eighth-graders also scored above average in math and science.

The National Center for Education Statistics released the study that showed U.S. students performed better than the global average but still lagged behind many other countries in Asia and Europe.

Former Gov. Jeb Bush, who made education a top priority and continues to push for change statewide and nationally, said Florida's students are continuing to break myths and show all kids can learn.

Florida's overall fourth grade reading score was 569, just two points behind Hong Kong.

AP-WF-12-11-12 1753GMT

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