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Science Achievement of Fourth- and Eighth-Graders in 2011


4th Grade

Comparisons of the science achievement of 4th-graders in 2011 are made among 57 countries and other education systems. 

Performance by Average Scores (Table 4)

  • In 2011, the average science score of U.S. 4th-graders (544) was higher than the international TIMSS scale average, which is set at 500. 
  • At grade 4, the United States was among the top 10 education systems in science (6 education systems had higher averages and 3 were not measurably different) and scored higher, on average, than 47 education systems. 
    • The 6 education systems with average science scores above the U.S. score were Korea, Singapore, Finland, Japan, the Russian Federation, and Chinese Taipei-CHN.

Change in Average Scores Over Time (Figure 5)

  • There was no measurable difference between the U.S. average science score at grade 4 in 1995 (542) and in 2011 (544).
  • There was no measurable difference between the U.S. average science score at grade 4 in 2007 (539) and in 2011 (544).

Performance on International Benchmarks (Figure 6)

  • The percentage of 4th-graders performing at or above the Advanced international science benchmark in 2011 was higher than in the United States in 3 education systems, was not different in 6 education systems, and was lower than in the United States in 47 education systems.

8th Grade

Comparisons of the science achievement of 8th-graders in 2011 are made among 56 countries and other education systems.

Performance by Average Scores (Table 5)

  • In 2011, the average science score of U.S. 8th-graders (525) was higher than the TIMSS scale average, which is set at 500.
  • At grade 8, the United States was among the top 23 education systems in science (12 education systems had higher averages and 10 were not measurably different) and scored higher, on average, than 33 education systems.
    • The 12 education systems with average science scores above the U.S. score were Singapore, Massachusetts-USA, Chinese Taipei-CHN, Korea, Japan, Minnesota-USA, Finland, Alberta-CAN, Slovenia, the Russian Federation, Colorado-USA, and Hong Kong-CHN.

Change in Average Scores Over Time (Figure 7)

  • Compared with 1995, the U.S. average science score at grade 8 was 12 score points higher in 2011 (525 v. 513).
  • There was no measurable difference between the U.S. average science score at grade 8 in 2007 (520) and in 2011 (525). 

Performance on International Benchmarks (Figure 8)

  • The percentage of 8th-grade students performing at or above the Advanced international science benchmark in 2011 was higher than in the United States in 12 education systems, was not different in 10 education systems, and was lower than in the United States in 33 education systems.

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National Center for Education Statistics - http://nces.ed.gov
U.S. Department of Education