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Talking About The Nation's Report Card: Science 2000 Results

Peggy Carr Hello, and welcome to today's StatChat on the NAEP science results for the nation and states. I hope you've had time to look at the results on the website. I'm sure that you have many questions regarding today's release, so let's get right to them...

Wilma from Middletown, CT asked:
How well did children of color (African-American and Latino) do on the 2000 science assessment in comparison to 1996. What were the areas of weakness and strengths?
Peggy Carr: Hi Wilma: At grades 4, 8, and 12, there were no significant changes for African-American and Hispanic students. However, both subgroups scored lower than white or Asian students. A number of contextual variables are available on the online data analysis tool. Peggy

Bob from Kalispell, MT asked:
Was the test given to any faculty or administration? Science classes were much more interesting before OSHA and safety fanatics who didn't know science got into the act.
Peggy Carr: Hi Bob: No. The assessment was not administered to adults. However, background data were collected from teachers and principals..see the NAEP Science website. Peggy

Joe from Topeka asked:
How do the NAEP scores compare to international assessments of science?
Peggy Carr: Joe: Although no direct comparisons are possible, the results are similar in that older students did not do as well as younger students. Peggy

Larry Chisesi from Fort Collins, Colorado asked:
How closely matched were the 2000 test takers from prior years test takers. Which states were in the last assessment that are not in this assesment, and which were in this assessment that weren't in the last assessment. Finally, for 12th graders, is the drop in scores within the margin of error?
Peggy Carr: Larry: The cohorts of students in both assessments are statistically comparable. Consult page 5 of the Highlights report for a map of participating states. The 12th grade drop is statistically significant. Peggy

Larry Chisesi from Fort Collins, CO asked:
It looks like for 12th graders, in 2000, almost twice as many took the test as in 1996, and, the margins of error are reported to be about the same. I find that hard to believe.
Peggy Carr: Larry: In 2000, NAEP targeted additional private school students to improve the precision of the estimates. This explains the higher number of students in the sample, but it did not affect the precision of public school estimates. Peggy

Lane Peeler from Columbia, SC asked:
I notice that some NAEP 2000 science items are being released. I have been told that this will not be true for NAEP 2000 mathematics. Have there been any changes to that position? It would be nice to have exemplar items from both science and mathematics. Teachers like to see items!
Peggy Carr: Lane: No, there has been no change in the position. However, please note that there are hundreds of released math items already on the web in our NAEP Questions Tool. These items are psychometrically equivalent. Peggy

Beatrice from Spokane, Washington asked:
I see that there is no information for the state of Washington. How can parents judge the performance of their state if there is no data. Who do I need to talk to to get Washington involved?
Peggy Carr: Beatrice: Although Washington was not represented in this assessment, they did initially sign the participation agreement. They simply could not get schools to agree. The NAEP state coordinator Washington is Bob Silverman at the Washington Department of Education. Peggy

Clarence from augusta, georgia asked:
Is the South really as bad as it is being portrayed? It looks as if all of the underperforming states are southern states.
Peggy Carr: Clarence: The maps on pages 4 and 5 of the Highlights report show how the states did relative to the nation. Please note that there are exceptions to your observations. Ky, for example performed above the national average in grade 4, and at the national average in grade also improved their performance in the 8th grade since 1996. There are other examples such as Va. Peggy

Theodor from Kodiak, AK asked:
A map on the NAEP web site shows that the average scale score in southern states is lower than the national average whereas northern states scored higher than the national average. To what do you attribute this discrepancy?
Peggy Carr: Theodor: On average you are right, but this pattern is not true of all southern states. The NAEP website has numerous contextual variables that you can explore. Peggy

Larry Chisesi from Fort Collins, CO asked:
So private school 12th graders don't know science??!!
Peggy Carr: Larry: Private school 12th graders do better than public school students. In addition, the scores of Catholic schools students improved since 1996. Peggy

George from Pensacola, Florida asked:
It appears there is a huge discrepancy in scores between schools that have free lunch eligible students and those that don't. Is this another example of them that have get and them that don't don't?
Peggy Carr: George: There are schools in the sample with high percentages of students eligible for free or reduced price lunches that do well on NAEP, such as the Department of Defense schools. Peggy

Edward from Cupertino, CA asked:
Have the results been normalized for demographic changes? Are California's horrid results in any way caused by differences in English proficiency, immigration, and culture? Our local schools are excellent but our population is largely Asian and I understand that tends to raise the curve in math and science.
Peggy Carr: Ed: The results have not been normalized for demographic changes. Our governing board requires that we not make these adjustments. Secondary analysts have made such adjustments. Send us an e-mail for the specific references of those studies. Use the "NAEP Staff" button down below. Peggy

George from Pensacola, Florida asked:
How can you compare DODDS schools to state scores. Are you saying that DODDS schools are similar and can be statistically compared to schools in states?
Peggy Carr: George: Yes. We have international and domestic schools as separate jurisdictions. They both are representative samples and they both do well. Peggy

Nick from Washington, D.C. asked:
The average scores for 4th-, 8th-, and 12th graders are essentially the same. Is this to be expected since questions will increase in difficulty at the same rate as students' science knowledge?
Peggy Carr: Nick: The NAEP scales range from 0-300 for each grade. They are not comparable from grade to grade (they are within grade scales). Peggy

Frederick from Jackson, Mississippi asked:
Internet use at home seems to make a huge difference. 13 points higher in 4th grade, 19 points in 8th grade and 17 in 12th grade. How can we use this information to help kids in school that don't have access to computers at home?
Peggy Carr: Hi Fred: The internet use at home is likely to be a surrogate for SES. However, the items regarding the specific types of computer use at school gives us clues regarding what is associated with higher performance. See pages 11 and 12 of the Highlights report. Peggy

Lane from Columbia, SC asked:
Where do we stand on the decision as to whether NAEP will be a part of President Bush's plan for assessing students on a yearly basis? Thanks.
Peggy Carr: Lane: This is the last question I have time for today. As for NAEP's role, the ESEA is still in conference. Peggy

Thanks for all the excellent questions. Unfortunately, I could not get to all of them, but please feel free to contact members of the NAEP staff, if you need further assistance. I hope that you found this session to be helpful and the reports to be interesting

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