The Nation’s Report Card: Science 2009
This report presents results of the 2009 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) in science at grades 4, 8, and 12. National results for each of the three grades are based on representative samples of public and private school students from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the Department of Defense schools. State results are reported separately for fourth- and eighth-grade public school students from 46 states and the Department of Defense schools. Student performance is summarized as average scores and as percentages of students performing at or above three achievement levels: Basic, Proficient, and Advanced. Results for student demographic groups (e.g., race/ethnicity, gender, and type of school location) are included, as well as sample assessment questions with examples of student responses. The Technical Notes and appendix tables provide information on NAEP samples, school and student participation rates, the exclusion and accommodation rates of students with disabilities and English language learners, and additional state-level results.
The NAEP science assessment was updated in 2009 to keep the content current with key developments in science, curriculum standards, assessments, and research. Because of the recent changes to the assessment, the results from 2009 cannot be compared to those from previous assessment years; however, they provide a current snapshot of what the nation’s fourth-, eighth-, and twelfth-graders know and can do in science that will serve as the basis for comparisons on future science assessments.
Highlights of the national results show that 34 percent of fourth-graders, 30 percent of eighth-graders, and 21 percent of twelfth-graders performed at or above the Proficient level, demonstrating competency over challenging subject matter. Seventy-two percent of fourth-graders, 63 percent of eighth-graders, and 60 percent of twelfth-graders performed at or above the Basic level in science in 2009, demonstrating partial mastery of the knowledge and skills fundamental for proficient work in the subject. Twelfth-graders who reported taking biology, chemistry, and physics scored higher than students taking less advanced science coursework.
Of the 47 states/jurisdictions that participated at the state level, scores for fourth-grade public school students in 24 states were higher than the score for the nation, and scores in 10 states were lower. At eighth-grade, scores for students in 25 states were higher than the score for the nation, and scores for 15 states were lower.
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