Billy Townsend, Florida blogger, has reported regularly on Florida’s gaming of NAEP scores. He writes here that Governor Ron DeSantis is carrying out Jeb Bush’s old trick to inflate 4th grade NAEP scores. He calls the governor Ron Jebsantis. The trick is third grade retention, which ensures that the lowest scoring third graders never take the fourth grade NAEP test (the kids who take the NAEP test are selected at random).

Thus, DeSantis put out a flashy press release celebrating fourth grade NAEP scores in the test scores recently released. But, as usual, DeSantis neglects to mention the collapse of eighth grade NAEP scores. Somehow the kids who were retained in third grade managed to skip fourth grade and rejoin their classmates by eighth grade.

Here are his numbers, drawn from NAEP reports:

With that in mind, here is a view of Florida’s 2022 NAEP scores peaking in elementary school and dramatically worsening with the older cohorts —- which is ALL of the red numbers after the green baseline.

I personally put no stock in the twelfth grade numbers (which Billy extrapolated) because NAEP stopped testing seniors a decade ago. Seniors know that NAEP doesn’t count and they don’t do their best. Some don’t even try. Their answer sheets had doodles, or some just picked the (A) answer to every question or some were blank.

But the stark drop from fourth grade to eighth grade says something’s fishy in Florida.