The mere mention of international measures of performance is rare in a NCLB waiver. Everyone knows how poorly American students stack up against their global peers on assessments like PISA, so it’s no surprise that states shy away from comparing their own student achievement against international assessments. Instead, states choose to benchmark academic progress against their own past performance and national trends on the NAEP exam.
In the Sunshine State, officials have proposed in their NCLB waiver to reach the same achievement levels as the top five states (for example Massachusetts) and ten nations including Finland. In 2011, the average NAEP math score for 8th-graders was 283. Florida’s was 277, placing it 42nd among all 50 states (plus D.C.), making Florida one the lowest performing states in grade 8 math.
The graph below shows Florida’s performance on the NAEP math assessment is nearing the national average. By constantly comparing its student achievement to the NAEP average, Florida policymakers are able to form more targeted performance goals to ensure students compete at the same levels as their peers in other states.
Florida will do the same with international assessments, like TIMSS and PISA. This is part of the state’s new accountability system and is designed to keep Florida moving forward toward national and international competitiveness.
These important goals signal Florida’s determination not only to make significant academic progress, but to see its education reform efforts highly regarded on a national and international level.