The National Assessment of Educational Progress

(NAEP)

** scores **of students in fourth grade

** increased dramatically over the last decade,** with

**Florida surpassing the national average in reading in 2003 and in math in 2005**. Between 1996

and 2009, fourth-grade

**math scores increased by 0.84 standard deviations**, while fourth-grade

8 Core classes, which include all subjects areas affected by the CSR mandate, include language arts/reading, math,

science, social studies, foreign languages, self-contained, special education, and English for speakers of other

languages.

9 Using the EDW student course files, I calculate the average size of the core classes attended by each student

(weighting each class by the number of minutes per week the student spent in the class and dropping as outliers

classes with fewer than five or more than 40 students). These data indicate that statewide average class size in

grades four to eight fell by 5.3 students from 2003 to 2009 (the change in the corresponding official FLDOE

statistics, which are calculated using a modestly different formula, for this period is 5.6). This decrease was smaller

for special education students, who experienced an average decrease of 3.4 (from 20.6 to 17.2), as compared to 5.7

(from 26.0 to 20.3) for regular education students. Students eligible for the free or reduced-price lunch program

experienced an average decrease of 5.2 (from 24.7 to 19.5), as compared to 5.6 (from 26.2 to 20.6) among ineligible

students. The decreases for black, Hispanic, and white students were 5.1, 6.4, and 5.2, respectively.

10 Average class size in all non-core classes in grades six to eight (I exclude grades four and five because of the

prevalence of self-contained classrooms) fell from 26.0 in 2003 to 24.0 in 2009, a decrease of 2.0. Average class

size in art and music classes fell by 2.1. Average class size in core classes in these grades fell by 5.4.

6

**reading scores increased by 0.39 standard deviations between 1998 and 2009. Over the same**

time periods, the NAEP scores of eighth-grade students in math and reading increased by 0.39

and 0.26 standard deviations, respectively. Scores on Florida’s Comprehensive Assessment Test

(FCAT) posted similarly large increases over this period.11