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Florida students perform above national average; Writing skills of 10th, eighth grades assessed

By Staff | Apr 4, 2008

The National Assessment of Educational Progress released the 2007 Nation’s Report Card for writing on Thursday. According to the results, Florida is above the national average of 154 and is ninth in the nation for students who are proficient writers.

The statistics for the report card were taken from an assessment administered to students in grades eight and 10 from January to March 2007. Students were tested on their skills in narrative, informative and persuasive styles of writing and scored on a scale of 0 to 300.

“Good writing means you can tell a story, provide information and persuade people with your words,” said Mark Schneider, commissioner for the National Center for Education Statistics in a statement about the 2007 report card. “In the scoring of student answers, we recognized that these were essentially first drafts, not polished pieces of writing.”

Overall, Florida in 2007 scored a 158, which is not only higher than the national average but was higher than its average score in 1998. Florida’s report card indicates that 52 percent of students were classified as having basic writing skills, while 33 percent were classified as proficient.

And some 12 percent of students who took the exam were considered having below basic skills — the lowest classification.

Overall, 45 states and various jurisdictions were assessed on their writing abilities for the Nation’s Report Card.

The test results from the Florida assessments given in 1998, 2002 and 2007 indicate a general increase in student performance in writing.

Officials from the Lee County School District believe that Florida’s increases are due to the hard work students have put into preparing for the FCAT exams.

“I think that it’s the fruit of the FCAT’s labor,” said Joe Donzelli, district director of communications. “The FCAT has been around for 10 years and most students have experienced it. I think it shows that what we are doing works.”

Female students scored higher than male students in writing, according to test results. Females scored an average of 169 on the assessment, while males scored an average of 147. And in terms of race, white students scored an average of 167 on the assessment, while black students had an average of 144 and Hispanic students 150.

For more information about the NAEP or the Nation’s Report Card, visit: http://nces.ed.gov.