Nation's Report Card Home

Overall Summary

The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) Mega-States report focuses on the performance of students in the five most populous states in the United States: California, Florida, Illinois, New York, and Texas. These five states have the five largest public school populations in the nation. The report focuses on the performance of public school students in three subjects: reading, mathematics, and science at grades 4 and 8. Please note that writing results were not included in this report because the 2011 writing framework begins a new trend line. In addition, the 2011 computer-based writing assessment was not administered at the state level. The interactive graphic at the bottom of this page allows you to explore results in depth.

The Mega-States are home to nearly one-third of the nation's public schools

In 2010, there were about 49.5 million students in public schools nationwide, and close to 18.7 million of them attended schools in the Mega-States. Illinois educates over 2.1 million students, Florida and New York have more than 2.5 million students each, and California and Texas combined account for over 11 million students. By comparison, all other states have between 89,000 and 1.8 million students.

The Mega-States exemplify our nation's changing demographics

The Mega-States are at the forefront of the demographic shifts in our nation. California, Texas, New York, and Florida had the largest increases in the immigrant population over the last decade. Illinois had the sixth largest increase.

Most of our nation's English language learners (ELL) are educated in the Mega-States. California enrolls nearly 1.5 million ELL students—the largest number in the nation. That's more than twice the amount of any other Mega-State. The variations in state policies and percentages of ELL students identified in each Mega-State, along with the variations in exclusion and accommodation rates, are part of the overall context for interpreting academic achievement. Explore exclusion rates for reading, mathematics, and science.

More than one-third of all families below the poverty line live in the Mega-States. About 9 million families in the United States reported income below the poverty line in 2011; 3.4 million of them were in the Mega-States. Compared to the national average, California, Florida, and Texas all have higher percentages of students who are eligible for the National School Lunch Program (NSLP). New York is about the same as the national average, while Illinois is lower.

Explore results with an interactive graphic

Overall, public school students from the Mega-States usually performed lower than or not significantly different from their peers in the nation in the most recent NAEP assessments in reading, mathematics, and science. The reading and mathematics assessments were administered at the state level at both grades in 2011. Science was most recently administered at grade 4 in 2009 and grade 8 in 2011. The picture is more complex and varied when results for NAEP student groups are examined.

Explore how the average scores for student groups compare to the nation by either selecting a subject or a state from the left-hand side of the interactive graphic below. Results can be displayed by

  • subject across all the Mega-States and student groups, or
  • by individual Mega-State across all the subjects and student groups.



NOTE: Black includes African American, Hispanic includes Latino, and Pacific Islander includes Native Hawaiian. Race categories exclude Hispanic origin.

SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences, National Center for Education Statistics, National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), 2009 and 2011 Science Assessments, and 2011 Mathematics and Reading Assessments.