Chapter 8: State Indicators

Elementary and Secondary Education

Select Indicator:

Quartiles | Findings | Description

Fourth grade science proficiency: 2000

Fourth grade science proficiency: 2000

Fourth Grade Science Proficiency: 2000.


Fourth grade science proficiency: 2000*

1st Quartile
2nd Quartile
3rd Quartile
4th Quartile
No Data
Connecticut Idaho Arkansas Alabama Alaska
Indiana Illinois Georgia Arizona Colorado
Iowa Kentucky Maryland California Delaware
Maine Nebraska New York Hawaii District of Columbia
Massachusetts Ohio North Carolina Louisiana Florida
Michigan Oklahoma Rhode Island Mississippi Kansas
Minnesota Oregon Tennessee Nevada New Hampshire
Missouri Utah Texas New Mexico New Jersey
Montana Wyoming West Virginia South Carolina Pennsylvania
North Dakota       South Dakota
Vermont       Washington
Virginia       Wisconsin
*States in alphabetical order, not data order.

SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, National Assessment of Educational Progress. See table 8-4.

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  • The nationwide percentage of fourth grade public school students who performed at or above the proficient level in science was 28% in 2000 and 27% in 1996 in testing without accommodations.

  • The proportion of fourth graders reaching the proficient achievement level in science was 38% for whites, 7% for blacks, 11% for Hispanics, and 19% for American Indians/Alaska Natives in 2000. Data for Asians/Pacific Islanders were not reported.

  • Gender differences in science proficiency were observed among fourth grade students; 33% of males reached the proficient level compared with 26% of females.

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This indicator provides a measure of the extent to which a state’s fourth grade students in public schools have achieved proficiency in science. High values show that a high percentage of a state’s fourth grade students have demonstrated a solid foundation for adult science competency. Such competency is an important characteristic of a state’s future workforce.

Proficiency in science is based on achievement level in the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) 2000 Science Assessment. Achievement levels represent performance standards set by the National Assessment Governing Board to provide a context for interpreting student performance on NAEP.

The basic level (138–169) denotes partial mastery of prerequisite knowledge and skills that are fundamental for proficient work at the fourth grade level. The proficient level (170–204) represents solid academic performance at the fourth grade level. Students who reach this level have demonstrated competency over challenging subject matter, including subject-matter knowledge, application of such knowledge to real-world situations, and analytical skills appropriate to the subject matter. The advanced level (205–300) signifies superior performance in science.

A National Academy of Sciences panel evaluated the process used to establish the achievement levels for the science assessment and urged that they be considered developmental and interpreted with caution.

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National Science Board.