The IES mission is to:
- Provide rigorous and relevant evidence on which to ground education practice and policy and share this information broadly.
- By identifying what works, what doesn't, and why, we aim to improve educational outcomes for all students, particularly those at risk of failure.
- The IES is a research arm of the U.S. Department of Education, and by law our activities must be free of partisan political influence.
The report itself was produced by the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), which is the largest nationally representative and continuing assessment of what America's students know and can do in various subject areas including reading, math, and science. The NAEP samples students through assessments based upon 4th, 8th, and 12th grades or ages 9, 13, and 17 years old. The NAEP does not report on specific schools or students.
The report focuses primarily on the "Mega-States" which include California, Florida, Illinois, New York, and Texas. Together these states have:
- ~40% of the nation's public school students.
- Greater than 50% of all English Language Learners (ELL)
- Largest concentration of children from lower-income families
Why should we look at the "Mega-States"?
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 results reveal some achievements and challenges across the Mega-States especially for California. 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 does break down statistics by minority groups and looks at how these percentages have changed over the last two decades. California did see significant improvement in the area of minority black students as compared to national peers.
Between 1992 and 2011, Black students in California and Florida, White students in Florida, and Hispanic students in New York made larger gains than their national peers.
For more extensive statistics please see: