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Geography Achievement

In 2001, the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) conducted a geography assessment of the nationís fourth-, eighth-, and twelfth-grade students. In the figures below, results in 2001 are compared to results of the 1994 NAEP geography assessment, which was the preceding NAEP geography assessment and the only other geography assessment conducted under the current framework. Studentsí performance on the assessment is described in terms of average scores on a 0Ė500 scale.

Average Scale Score Results

The results of the 2001 geography assessment show higher average scores than the results in 1994 at grades 4 and 8, and no statistically significant change at grade 12. As seen in figure 1, the average score of fourth-graders rose from 206 to 209, and the average score of eighth-graders rose from 260 to 262.

Figure 1. Average geography scale scores, grades 4, 8, and 12: 1994 and 2001


Average geography scale scores, grades 4, 8, and 12: 1994 and 2001

Significantly different from 1994.Significantly different from 1994.
SOURCE: Figure 2.1 in U.S. Department of Education. Office of Educational Research and Improvement. National Center for Education Statistics. The Nationís Report Card: Geography 2001, NCES 2002-484, by A. R.Weiss, A. D. Lutkus, B. S. Hildebrant, & M. S. Johnson. Washington, DC: 2002.

Tables/Figures View Table 1.

Scale Scores by Percentile

The percentile indicates the percentage of students whose scores fell below a particular point on the NAEP geography scale. Percentile scores show how students with lower or higher ability performed compared to the national average. In addition, the percentile data show whether trends in the national average scores are reflected in scores at other levels of the performance distribution. At grades 4 and 8, scores at the two lowest percentiles (10th and 25th) were higher in 2001 than in 1994, suggesting that much of the improvement seen at grades 4 and 8 was concentrated among the lower-performing students (figure 2). Other apparent changes at these two grades were not statistically significant. At grade 12, consistent with national average score results, none of the apparent differences in percentile scores was statistically significant.

Figure 2. Geography scale score percentiles, grades 4,8, and 12: 1994 and 2001


Geography scale score percentiles, grades 4,8, and 12: 1994 and 2001

Significantly different from 1994.Significantly different from 1994.
SOURCE: Figure 2.2 in U.S. Department of Education. Office of Educational Research and Improvement. National Center for Education Statistics. The Nationís Report Card: Geography 2001, NCES 2002-484, by A. R.Weiss, A. D. Lutkus, B. S. Hildebrant, & M. S. Johnson. Washington, DC: 2002.

Tables/Figures View Table 2.

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