Skip Navigation
small NCES header image

Chapter 4: Academic Preparation and Achievement

Indicator 19: Science Achievement

In the 4th, 8th, and 12th grades, a higher percentage of males than females scored at or above Proficient on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) in science in 2009. This pattern held among White students in the 4th grade;White, Hispanic, Asian/Pacific Islander, and American Indian/Alaska Native students in the 8th grade; and White and Hispanic students in the 12th grade.

In 2009, some 34 percent of 4th-graders, 30 percent of 8th-graders, and 21 percent of 12th-graders scored at or above the Proficient level on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) science assessment. At all three grade levels, a higher percentage of males than females scored at or above Proficient in science. For example, 24 percent of 12th-grade males scored at or above Proficient, compared with 18 percent of 12th-grade females. This pattern by sex held among White students in the 4th grade and among White, Hispanic, Asian/ Pacific Islander, and American Indian/Alaska Native students in the 8th grade. It also held among White and Hispanic students in the 12th grade: 32 percent of White males scored at or above Proficient, compared with 22 percent of White females; and 11 percent of Hispanic males scored at or above Proficient, compared with 6 percent of Hispanic females.

In all three grades, higher percentages of White and Asian/Pacific Islander students scored at or above Proficient than did American Indian/Alaska Native, Hispanic, and Black students. For example, among 12th-grade students, 36 percent of Asians/Pacific Islanders and 27 percent of Whites scored at or above Proficient, compared with 13 percent of American Indians/Alaska Natives, 8 percent of Hispanics, and 4 percent of Blacks. The percentage of Asian/Pacific Islander 12th-graders scoring at or above Proficient was higher than the percentage for their White peers. At the 4th- and 8th-grade levels, the percentages of American Indian/ Alaska Native students scoring at or above Proficient were higher than the corresponding percentages of Hispanics and Blacks. In addition, the percentages of Hispanics scoring at or above Proficient were higher than the percentages of Blacks across all three grade levels.

Higher percentages of both White and Asian/Pacific Islander males and females scored at or above Proficient in science than males and females of any other racial/ethnic groups shown, at all grade levels. However, at all three grade levels, the percentages of White males at or above Proficient did not measurably differ from the percentages of Asian/Pacific Islander males. The percentages of White females and Asian/Pacific Islander females did not measurably differ in the 4th and 8th grades. For example, among 12th-grade males, 32 percent each of Asian/Pacific Islander males and White males scored at or above Proficient, compared with 11 percent of Hispanic males and 5 percent of Black males. Among females in the 12th grade, a higher percentage of Asians/Pacific Islanders than Whites scored at or above Proficient (39 vs. 22 percent).

The percentages of American Indian/Alaska Native males scoring at or above Proficient were higher than the percentages of Black males at the 4th-grade level and the percentages of Hispanic and Black males at the 8th-grade level. Higher percentages of female American Indian/Alaska Native students scored at or above Proficient than Hispanic and Black females at the 4th-grade level and Black females at the 8th-grade level. Higher percentages of Hispanic males than Black males scored at or above Proficient in all grades, and higher percentages of Hispanic females than Black females scored at or above Proficient in the 4th grade.

Technical Notes

The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) achievement levels define what students should know and be able to do. Basic denotes partial mastery of knowledge and skills that are fundamental for proficient work at a given grade. Proficient represents solid academic performance. Students reaching this level have demonstrated competency over challenging subject matter. Advanced signifies superior performance. NAEP reports data on student race/ethnicity based on information obtained from school rosters. This indicator presents information on Asians and Pacific Islanders as a combined category because the data were collected in a manner that does not permit separate reporting. Since 96 percent of all Asian/Pacific Islander 5- to 24-year-olds are Asian, this combined category substantially reflects the situation for Asians, rather than Pacific Islanders. For more information, please see the introduction to this report.

Top


Figure 19-1 Percentage of students scoring at or above the Proficient level of the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) science assessment, by grade, race/ethnicity, and sex: 2009

Table E-19-1 Percentage distribution of students at National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) science achievement levels, by race/ethnicity, sex, grade, and achievement level: 2009


  
Would you like to help us improve our products and website by taking a short survey?

YES, I would like to take the survey

or

No Thanks

The survey consists of a few short questions and takes less than one minute to complete.