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The Nation's Report Card: Trial Urban District Assessment Science 2005

November 2006

Authors: Tony Lutkus, Mary Lauko, and Debra Brockway

Download sections of the report (or the complete report) in a PDF file for viewing and printing.


Image of the 2005 TUDA Science report card cover

Executive Summary

Fourth-Grade Results
Eighth-Grade Results
Comparisons by Race/Ethnicity and Income Level

In 2005, NAEP conducted its first Trial Urban District Assessment (TUDA) in science. The assessment included public school students in the following districts:

  • Atlanta 
  • Austin 
  • Boston 
  • Charlotte 
  • Chicago 
  • Cleveland
  • Houston
  • Los Angeles
  • New York City
  • San Diego

Fourth-Grade Results

  • In 7 of the 10 districts, fourth-graders scored as well as, or better than, students in large central cities across the country. 
  • The percentage of fourth-graders performing at or above Basic ranged from 35 to 60 percent in the districts, compared to 66 percent for the nation.
  • The percentage of fourth-graders performing at or above Proficient ranged from 6 to 26 percent in the districts, compared to 27 percent for the nation.

A fourth-grade student whose score falls in the Basic achievement-level range would likely be able to identify two organs that work together to supply oxygen to the body. Relating the relative amount of time a candle burns to the amount of air available is an example of the type of skill that falls in the Proficient range.

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Eighth-Grade Results

  • In 6 of the 10 districts, eighth-graders scored as well as, or better than, students in large central cities across the country.
  • The percentage of eighth-graders performing at or above Basic ranged from 22 to 52 percent in the districts, compared to 57 percent for the nation.
  • The percentage of eighth-graders performing at or above Proficient ranged from 5 to 27 percent in the districts, compared to 27 percent for the nation.

An eighth-grade student whose score falls within the Basic achievement-level range would likely be able to identify changes that occur in heart rate before, during, and after exercise. Identifying the energy conversions that occur in an electric fan is the type of skill that falls in the Proficient range.

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Comparisons by Race/Ethnicity and Income Level

All of the 10 participating districts have a majority of students who are not White, and nearly all have high proportions of low-income students. Because the demographic makeup of these districts differs from that of public schools in the nation overall, it is important to compare student groups in the districts with their peers in large central cities and in the nation.

  • In many of the districts, average scores for White, Black, Hispanic, and Asian/Pacific Islander students were either higher or not significantly different from the national average for their peers. 
  • At both grades 4 and 8, the gap in average scores between the nation and the individual districts for all students ranged from 2 to 30 points, with the nation’s score higher.
  • When the comparison between nation and district at both grades is based only on low-income students, the gaps in average scores ranged from almost none to 19 points, with the nation’s score higher.

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Download sections of the report (or the complete report) in a PDF file for viewing and printing:

NCES 2007-453 Ordering information

Suggested Citation
Lutkus, A.D., Lauko, M., and Brockway, D. (2006). The Nation’s Report Card: Trial Urban District Assessment Science 2005 (NCES 2007-453). U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office.

For more information, see the results of the 2005 Science Trial Urban District Assessment on the Nation's Report Card website.

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Last updated 09 November 2006 (FW)

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National Center for Education Statistics - http://nces.ed.gov
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