Science score gains made on Nation's Report Card: younger students show highest achievement over last decade.
The 2005 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) tested the science skills of a representative sample of more than 300,000 students in grades 4, 8 and 12. Released in May of this year by the U.S. Department of Education's National Center for Education Statistics, national findings since the previous assessments in 1996 and 2000 revealed:
> Fourth-grade students scored higher than in either previous year, and lower-performing students made the largest gains since 2000.
> Eighth-graders' overall performance remained unchanged from either previous year; gains by lower-income students narrowed the achievement gap since 2000.
> Scores for 12th-graders remained unchanged since the last assessment, but are lower than in 1996. However, the gap in achievement between black and white students has widened since 2000.
"These NAEP results provide further evidence that accountability and assessments are working to raise achievement levels, even in subjects not directly tested under the No Child Left Behind Act," said U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings. Furthermore, she added that the results prove the need to expand those accountability provisions more in the nation's high schools.
The report also presents state results for grades 4 and 8. Although most states showed no improvement in these grades, five of the 37 participating states--California, Hawaii, Kentucky, South Carolina and Virginia--did improve between 2000 and 2005 in both grades.
In addition, in grades 4 and 8, minority students showed improvement, with the average score for black students increasing by seven points, and for Hispanic students by 11 points since 2000. At grade 8, blacks were the only racial-ethnic group to show progress since 1996, and no racial-ethnic group showed improvement since 2000.
For the full results of the 2005 science report, visit http://nces.ed.gov and scroll down the menu to "Nation's Report Card."