Mega-States: An Analysis of Student Performance in the Five Most Heavily Populated States in the Nation
Source: National Center for Education Statistics
“California, Florida, Illinois, New York, and Texas enroll close to 40 percent of the nation’s public school students. The importance of these “Mega-States” goes beyond the sheer size of their population. They now serve more than half of the nation’s English language learners (ELL), as well as some of the largest concentrations of children from lower-income families. As policymakers and educators look at the nation’s changing demographics and explore ways to close achievement gaps, the educational progress of children in these states is of interest far beyond their state borders. That’s why the National Center for Education Statistics and the National Assessment Governing Board focused this special report on educational outcomes in the five largest states.
Mega-States generally do not perform higher than the nation, but they have made some gains over time. The most recent NAEP results reveal some achievements and challenges across the Mega-States. They include the following:
- California scored lower than the nation in reading, mathematics, and science.
- Florida scored higher than the nation in grade 4 reading, but lower in grade 8 mathematics and science.
- Illinois scored higher than the nation in grade 8 reading, but lower in science.
- New York scored higher than the nation in grade 4 reading, but lower in grade 4 mathematics and grade 8 mathematics and science.
- Texas scored higher than the nation in grade 8 mathematics and science, and lower in reading.
The report features more information on the performance of different student groups in these assessments, and looks at gains over time. In many cases, students in the Mega-States have made significant gains, or rival the nation in the percentage of students at the Proficient achievement level.”