Author: National Center for Education Statistics
A representative sample of 122,000 eighth-graders participated in the 2011 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) science assessment, which is designed to measure students’ knowledge and abilities in the areas of physical science, life science, and Earth and space sciences.Eighth-grade performance in science improves from 2009
The average eighth-grade science score increased from 150 in 2009 to 152 in 2011. The percentages of students performing at or above the Basic and Proficient levels were higher in 2011 than in 2009. There was no significant change from 2009 to 2011 in the percentage of students at the Advanced level.
Achievement-level results in eighth-grade NAEP Science: 2009 and 2011
Racial/ethnic gaps narrow: Score gaps between White and Black students and between White and Hispanic students narrowed from 2009 to 2011. In comparison to 2009, average science scores in 2011 were 1 point higher for White students, 3 points higher for Black students, and 5 points higher for Hispanic students. There were no significant changes from 2009 to 2011 in the scores for Asian/Pacific Islander or American Indian/Alaska Native students.
No significant change in gender gap: Average scores for both male and female students were higher in 2011 than in 2009. Male students scored 5 points higher on average than female students in 2011, which was not significantly different from the 4-point gap in 2009.
Public school students score higher than in 2009 but private – public gap persists: The average science score for public school students was higher in 2011 than in 2009, while there was no significant change in the score for private school students. Private school students scored 12 points higher on average than public school students in 2011, which was not significantly different from the 15-point score gap in 2009.Eighth-grade public school students in 16 states score higher in 2011 than in 2009
1 Department of Defense Education Activity (overseas and domestic schools).
NCES 2012-465 Ordering information
National Center for Education Statistics (2012). The Nation's Report Card: Science 2011 (NCES 2012–465). Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education, Washington, D.C.
For more information, see the results of the 2011 Science assessment on the Nation's Report Card website.