Thursday, June 01, 2006

NAEP Science Scores for 4th, 8th, and 12th Graders

The NAEP Science scores from last year are now published. Fourth grade students saw increases, 8th grade students were flat, and 12th grade students had a decrease in scores. An additional disturbing result is that there was a widening in the achievement gap between black and white 12th grade students. Below is from the NSTA Express email:

"Science achievement scores released last week in the National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP) show improvement among fourth-grade students in science, but scores for eighth-grade students remain flat and twelfth-grade students decline. Considered the “Nation’s Report Card,” NAEP released the latest science performance scores of students at grades 4, 8, and 12. The test was administered in early 2005 by the Department of Education to more than 300,000 students across the nation and on military bases around the world.

According to the NAEP study, fourth-grade students’ achievement scores rose four percentage points since the last assessment in 2000. There were also large gains in the number of students moving into the Basic performance level, and minority students—particularly blacks and Hispanics—made impressive increases.

The scores for eighth-grade students have remained flat since 1996 with students losing ground in the physical science area, and most gaps between minority and white students remain unchanged. The achievement scores of twelfth-grade students declined three percentage points since the 1996 assessment. No significant changes in the scores were reported by racial/ethnic groups since 1996, and there was a significant widening of the gap between whites and blacks.

NSTA issued a press release responding to the NAEP report. President Mike Padilla was quoted in numerous news stories. To read the NSTA Reports Online Exclusive article on the NAEP report, visit;
to read the NSTA press release, go to"

This is discouraging news as the nation also faces declining numbers of American students going into science and other technical fields. With our economy driven by technology and science innovation, and the rest of the world putting increased emphasis on producing their own science personnel and infrastructure, the U.S. has its work cut out for itself if we want to remain ahead of the world and competitive in the global marketplace.

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