Florida is one of 36 states which scored higher than the international average score on a math test and one of 47 states which beat the international average score in science, according to a new analysis from the National Center for Education Statistics.
But no U.S. state beat the top-performing countries in math or science, and Florida has a lower percentage of top-performing math and science students than other countries. The results compared math and science scores on tests taken in 2011 in the U.S. and around the world.
Florida’s average eighth grade math score of 513 ranked it 39th in the world, just behind Finland and just ahead of students in Ontario, Canada. The average U.S. score was 509 and the average international score was 500.
South Korea earned a top average math score of 613, while Massachusetts’ average score of 561 was best in the U.S.
In science, Florida eighth graders scored an average of 530, ranking 42nd in the world behind Great Britain and ahead of Hungary. The U.S. average was 525. Singapore earned a top average score of 590 and Massachusetts was second with an average score of 567. The average international score was 500.
However, U.S. schools still trail the top country’s in the percentage of students earning top scores on the exams.
Just one-quarter of Florida eighth graders scored “advanced” or “high” on the math exam, compared to three-quarters of those tested in South Korea. About two-fifths of Florida students reached the “advanced” and “high” benchmarks in science, compared to about two-thirds of students in Singapore.
Researchers linked the results on two exams to complete the study, the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study and the National Assessment of Educational Progress. Researchers used NAEP because most U.S. states do not take TIMSS. Florida was one of a handful of states to participate in TIMSS testing.