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Status and Trends in the Education of American Indians and Alaska Natives: 2008

NCES 2008-084
September 2008

Student Performance in Science


American Indian/Alaska Native students' NAEP science assessment scores were lower, on average, than White and Asian/Pacific Islander students' scores in 2005.

Figure 4.4. Average science scale scores for American Indian/Alaska Native students and for all students, by grade: 2000 and 2005
Average science scale scores for American Indian/Alaska Native students and for all
students, by grade: 2000 and 2005
NOTE: Scale score ranges from 0 to 300. For a discussion of the science scale score definitions, please see http://nces.ed.gov/nationsreportcard/science/scale.asp. Race categories exclude persons of Hispanic ethnicity. Total includes race/ ethnicity categories not separately shown.
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), 2000 and 2005 Science Assessments, retrieved January 30, 2008, from http://www.nces.ed.gov/nationsreportcard/nde.

In science, potential NAEP scores range from 0 to 300. NAEP's science assessment measures students' knowledge of earth, physical, and life sciences, as well as their familiarity with ways of knowing and doing science.

In 2005, American Indian/Alaska Native students in the 4th, 8th, and 12th grades scored lower, on average, than White and Asian/Pacific Islander students. American Indian/Alaska Native 4th- and 12th-graders scored higher than Blacks and Hispanics; however, no measurable differences were detected among American Indian/Alaska Native, Black, and Hispanic 8th-graders.

In addition to calculating an overall science scale score, NAEP data are expressed as a series of achievement levels to indicate how well students perform against expectations for what students should know and be able to do. Among American Indian/Alaska Native students in 2005, some 52 percent of 4thgraders, 34 percent of 8th-graders, and 48 percent of 12th-graders scored at or above the basic proficiency level in science. American Indians/Alaska Natives in the 4th, 8th, and 12th grades had a lower percentage of students achieving at the "at or above basic" proficiency level in science than Whites, but the percentage was higher than that of Blacks and Hispanics in the 4th and 12th grades. A lower percentage of American Indian/Alaska Native students in the 4th and 8th grades achieved "at or above proficient" than Whites, and a higher percentage of American Indians/Alaska Native students achieved "at or above proficient" than Blacks across grade levels. American Indian/Alaska Natives also had a lower percentage of students "at or above proficient" than their Asian/ Pacific Islander peers in the 4th and 8th grades.

View Table View Table 4.4a View Table View Table 4.4b

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