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Digest of Education Statistics
2018 Tables and Figures All Years of Tables and Figures Most Recent Full Issue of the Digest


Table 223.10. Average National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) science scale score, standard deviation, and percentage of students attaining science achievement levels, by grade level, selected student and school characteristics, and percentile: 2009, 2011, and 2015
[Standard errors appear in parentheses]
Selected characteristic, percentile, and achievement level Grade 4 Grade 8 Grade 12
2009 2011 2015 2009 2011 2015 2009 2011 2015
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
  Average science scale score1
All students 150 (0.3) (†) 154 (0.3) 150 (0.3) 152 (0.3) 154 (0.3) 150 (0.8) (†) 150 (0.6)
Sex                                    
Male 151 (0.3) (†) 154 (0.4) 152 (0.4) 154 (0.3) 155 (0.3) 153 (0.9) (†) 153 (0.8)
Female 149 (0.3) (†) 154 (0.3) 148 (0.3) 149 (0.3) 152 (0.4) 147 (0.9) (†) 148 (0.7)
Gap between male and female score 1 (0.4) (†) 1 (0.5) 4 (0.5) 5 (0.5) 3 (0.5) 6 (1.3) (†) 5 (1.0)
                                     
Race/ethnicity                                    
White 163 (0.2) (†) 166 (0.3) 162 (0.2) 163 (0.2) 166 (0.3) 159 (0.7) (†) 160 (0.7)
Black 127 (0.4) (†) 133 (0.4) 126 (0.4) 129 (0.5) 132 (0.5) 125 (1.2) (†) 125 (1.5)
Hispanic 131 (0.5) (†) 139 (0.7) 132 (0.6) 137 (0.5) 140 (0.5) 134 (1.3) (†) 136 (1.0)
Asian/Pacific Islander 160 (1.2) (†) 167 (1.4) 160 (1.0) 159 (1.3) 164 (0.9) 164 (3.0) (†) 166 (2.3)
Asian (†) (†) 169 (1.4) (†) 161 (1.3) 166 (0.9) (†) (†) 167 (2.3)
Pacific Islander (†) (†) 143 (2.2) (†) 139 (1.9) 138 (2.5) (†) (†) (†)
American Indian/Alaska Native 135 (1.3) (†) 139 (1.5) 137 (1.4) 141 (1.4) 139 (1.6) 144 (3.7) (†) 135 (5.3)
Two or more races2 154 (1.1) (†) 158 (1.0) 151 (1.2) 156 (1.3) 159 (1.3) 151 (3.7) (†) 156 (2.5)
                                     
Gap between White and Black score 36 (0.4) (†) 33 (0.5) 36 (0.5) 35 (0.6) 34 (0.5) 34 (1.4) (†) 36 (1.6)
Gap between White and Hispanic score 32 (0.6) (†) 27 (0.7) 30 (0.6) 27 (0.6) 26 (0.6) 25 (1.5) (†) 24 (1.2)
                                     
English language learner (ELL) status                                    
ELL 114 (0.8) (†) 121 (1.0) 103 (1.0) 106 (1.2) 110 (1.1) 104 (2.4) (†) 105 (2.7)
Non-ELL 154 (0.2) (†) 158 (0.3) 153 (0.3) 154 (0.2) 157 (0.3) 151 (0.8) (†) 152 (0.5)
Gap between ELL and non-ELL score 39 (0.8) (†) 36 (1.0) 49 (1.0) 48 (1.3) 46 (1.2) 47 (2.6) (†) 47 (2.7)
                                     
Disability status3                                    
Identified as student with disability (SD) 129 (0.6) (†) 131 (0.6) 123 (0.5) 124 (0.6) 124 (0.6) 121 (1.8) (†) 124 (1.8)
Not identified as SD 153 (0.3) (†) 157 (0.3) 153 (0.3) 155 (0.3) 158 (0.3) 153 (0.8) (†) 153 (0.6)
Gap between SD and non-SD score 23 (0.7) (†) 26 (0.7) 31 (0.6) 31 (0.7) 34 (0.7) 31 (2.0) (†) 29 (1.9)
                                     
Highest education level of either parent                                    
Did not finish high school (†) (†) (†) 131 (0.6) 132 (0.7) 137 (0.7) 131 (1.4) (†) 131 (1.4)
Graduated high school (†) (†) (†) 139 (0.4) 140 (0.4) 142 (0.5) 138 (1.2) (†) 136 (1.2)
Some education after high school (†) (†) (†) 152 (0.4) 153 (0.4) 155 (0.5) 147 (0.9) (†) 148 (0.9)
Graduated college (†) (†) (†) 161 (0.4) 162 (0.3) 165 (0.3) 161 (0.7) (†) 162 (0.7)
                                     
Percent of students in school eligible for                                    
free or reduced-price lunch                                    
0-25 percent eligible (low poverty) 167 (0.4) (†) 172 (0.6) 165 (0.5) 167 (0.4) 170 (0.6) 163 (1.2) (†) 165 (1.1)
26-50 percent eligible 155 (0.5) (†) 161 (0.7) 154 (0.5) 157 (0.5) 161 (0.5) 148 (1.1) (†) 154 (1.0)
51-75 percent eligible 144 (0.5) (†) 151 (0.7) 141 (0.6) 146 (0.5) 150 (0.6) 136 (1.7) (†) 143 (1.1)
76-100 percent eligible (high poverty) 126 (0.6) (†) 134 (0.6) 124 (0.7) 129 (0.7) 134 (0.8) 124 (2.1) (†) 126 (1.7)
Gap between low- and high-poverty score 41 (0.8) (†) 38 (0.8) 41 (0.9) 38 (0.8) 36 (1.0) 38 (2.5) (†) 39 (2.0)
                                     
School locale                                    
City 142 (0.6) (†) 148 (0.6) 142 (0.6) 144 (0.6) 148 (0.6) 146 (1.8) (†) 145 (1.2)
Suburban 154 (0.4) (†) 157 (0.6) 154 (0.5) 155 (0.5) 158 (0.4) 154 (1.4) (†) 153 (1.0)
Town 150 (0.6) (†) 153 (0.8) 149 (1.0) 153 (0.7) 154 (0.7) 150 (1.2) (†) 150 (2.1)
Rural 155 (0.5) (†) 157 (0.7) 154 (0.4) 156 (0.5) 156 (0.6) 150 (1.2) (†) 152 (1.3)
                                     
Percentile4                                    
10th 104 (0.6) (†) 108 (0.6) 103 (0.6) 106 (0.5) 109 (0.6) 104 (1.2) (†) 103 (1.0)
25th 128 (0.4) (†) 132 (0.4) 128 (0.4) 131 (0.4) 133 (0.5) 126 (0.8) (†) 126 (0.9)
50th 153 (0.3) (†) 157 (0.4) 153 (0.3) 155 (0.3) 157 (0.4) 151 (1.1) (†) 151 (0.6)
75th 175 (0.3) (†) 178 (0.3) 175 (0.2) 176 (0.4) 178 (0.4) 174 (1.0) (†) 176 (0.6)
90th 192 (0.3) (†) 196 (0.4) 192 (0.3) 193 (0.4) 195 (0.3) 194 (1.0) (†) 196 (0.6)
                                     
  Standard deviation of the science scale score5
All students 35 (0.2) (†) 35 (0.2) 35 (0.2) 34 (0.2) 34 (0.2) 35 (0.4) (†) 36 (0.4)
                                     
  Percent of students attaining science achievement levels
Achievement level                                    
Below Basic 28 (0.3) (†) 24 (0.3) 37 (0.4) 35 (0.3) 32 (0.4) 40 (1.0) (†) 40 (0.7)
At or above Basic6 72 (0.3) (†) 76 (0.3) 63 (0.4) 65 (0.3) 68 (0.4) 60 (1.0) (†) 60 (0.7)
At or above Proficient7 34 (0.3) (†) 38 (0.4) 30 (0.3) 32 (0.4) 34 (0.4) 21 (0.8) (†) 22 (0.6)
At Advanced8 1 (0.1) (†) 1 (0.1) 2 (0.1) 2 (0.1) 2 (0.1) 1 (0.2) (†) 2 (0.2)
—Not available.
†Not applicable.
‡Reporting standards not met (too few cases for a reliable estimate).
1 Scale ranges from 0 to 300 for all three grades, but scores cannot be compared across grades. For example, the average score of 166 for White 4th-graders in 2015 does not denote higher performance than the score of 160 for White 12th-graders.
2 Prior to 2011, students in the "Two or more races" category were categorized as "Unclassified."
3 The student with disability (SD) variable used in this table includes students who have a 504 plan, even if they do not have an Individualized Education Plan (IEP).
4 The percentile represents a specific point on the percentage distribution of all students ranked by their science score from low to high. For example, 10 percent of students scored at or below the 10th percentile score, while 90 percent of students scored above it.
5 The standard deviation provides an indication of how much the test scores varied. The lower the standard deviation, the closer the scores were clustered around the average score. About two-thirds of the student scores can be expected to fall within the range of one standard deviation above and one standard deviation below the average score. In 2015, for example, the average score for all 4th-graders was 154, and the standard deviation was 35. This means that one would expect about two-thirds of the students to have scores between 189 (one standard deviation above the average) and 119 (one standard deviation below). Standard errors also must be taken into account when making comparisons of these ranges.
6 Basic denotes partial mastery of the knowledge and skills that are fundamental for proficient work.
7 Proficient represents solid academic performance. Students reaching this level have demonstrated competency over challenging subject matter.
8 Advanced signifies superior performance.
NOTE: In 2011, only 8th-grade students were assessed in science. Includes students tested with accommodations (7 to 14 percent of all students, depending on grade level and year); excludes only those students with disabilities and English language learners who were unable to be tested even with accommodations (1 to 3 percent of all students). Race categories exclude persons of Hispanic ethnicity.
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), 2009, 2011, and 2015 Science Assessments, retrieved January 10, 2017, from the Main NAEP Data Explorer (https://nces.ed.gov/nationsreportcard/naepdata/). (This table was prepared January 2017.)

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