Governor Robert Bentley today announced that Alabama leads the nation in reading gains and meets the national average in reading for the first time, according to data released from the National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP). The report indicates that, since the last national assessment in 2009, Alabama is one of only four states in the nation to show significant gains in 4th grade reading scores.
NAEP also measures math achievement in grades 4 and 8. Alabama is one of only nine states in the country to show significant improvement since 2009 in 4th grade math. Of the nine states, Alabama shows the second highest gain behind Arizona.
In Governor Bentley's first proposed education budget to the Legislature, he protected education programs like the Alabama Reading Initiative and the Alabama Math, Science, and Technology Initiative that help students succeed in reading and math. He has also committed to prioritize these outstanding programs in the FY 2013 education budget to ensure that tremendous gains in education will continue.
"Alabama has many exceptional teachers and principals who hold the key to whether or not our children get the quality education they deserve. We have made great strides when it comes to education in Alabama and today's report proves that," said Governor Robert Bentley. "We owe it to our children to give them every opportunity to succeed in education and lay the groundwork for success in life."
Alabama's 8th grade reading scores have shown significant improvement over time as well. Alabama is number six in the nation in reading score increases from 2003-2011.
Larry Craven, interim State Superintendent, said this is phenomenal news and further indication that education in Alabama is on the right track. He said programs such as the in the Alabama Reading Initiative and funding for reading coaches is showing a return on its investment.
"Reading is the cornerstone to all other forms of learning; this is the premise behind our Alabama Reading Initiative. The progress shown by this national assessment illustrates the climb our students, teachers, administrators and parents are making to position ourselves to be, not only competitive, but a leader in education," Craven said. "While we are excited about the gains made in reading, it's no time to rest on our laurels. Meeting the national average is a significant milestone, but just one milestone on our way to giving our students what they deserve... the best possible education in the country. It is not going to be easy, and it is going to take time, but it can be done. It must. We have plenty of work to do, but we are working hard, building momentum, and heading in the right direction."