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Chapter 8. State Indicators

Elementary and Secondary Education

Eighth Grade Science Performance



Findings

  • In 2011, the nationwide average science score of eighth grade public school students was 151, an increase from 149 in 2009. Average scores in 2011 for individual states ranged from a high of 164 to a low of 137.
  • Of the 46 jurisdictions that participated in both the 2009 and 2011 eighth grade science assessments, 22 showed increases in science scores among public school eighth graders over the period.
  • Nationally, the 2011 average science score for white public school eighth grade students was 163 compared to 128 for black students, a gap of 35 points, and 136 for Hispanic students, a gap of 27 points, based upon racial classifications provided by the schools. In 2009, these gaps were 36 and 30 points, respectively.


Description

This indicator represents each state’s average score on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) in science for its eighth grade students in public schools. The NAEP science assessment, conducted by the National Center for Education Statistics, is part of a legally mandated federal effort to measure student performance. It measures students’ knowledge and skill in science and their ability to apply that knowledge in the content areas of physical, life, and earth and space science. The NAEP assessment in science was updated in 2009 to keep pace with recent developments in science and science education. Because it is based on a new framework, 2009 results cannot be compared to those from previous science assessments. Student performance is presented in terms of average scores on a scale from 0 to 300.

An average score designated as “NA” (not available) indicates that the state either did not participate in the assessment or did not meet the minimum guidelines for reporting. NAEP allows students with disabilities or limited English-language proficiency to use certain accommodations (e.g., extra testing time or individual rather than group administration). All data presented here represent scores from tests taken with accommodations offered. For additional details on NAEP scores by gender and race/ethnicity, see appendix tables 8-1 to 8-12.


Data Table

Table 8-7
Average eighth grade science performance, by state: 2009 and 2011
(Score out of 300)
 
State 2009   2011
 
United States 149 151
Alabama 139 140
Alaska NA 153
Arizona 141 144
Arkansas 144 148
California 137 140
Colorado 156 161
Connecticut 155 155
Delaware 148 150
District of Columbia NA 112
Florida 146 148
Georgia 147 151
Hawaii 139 142
Idaho 158 159
Illinois 148 147
Indiana 152 153
Iowa 156 157
Kansas NA 156
Kentucky 156 157
Louisiana 139 143
Maine 158 160
Maryland 148 152
Massachusetts 160 161
Michigan 153 157
Minnesota 159 161
Mississippi 132 137
Missouri 156 156
Montana 162 163
Nebraska NA 157
Nevada 141 144
New Hampshire 160 162
New Jersey 155 155
New Mexico 143 145
New York 149 149
North Carolina 144 148
North Dakota 162 164
Ohio 158 158
Oklahoma 146 148
Oregon 154 155
Pennsylvania 154 151
Rhode Island 146 149
South Carolina 143 149
South Dakota 161 162
Tennessee 148 150
Texas 150 153
Utah 158 161
Vermont NA 163
Virginia 156 160
Washington 155 156
West Virginia 145 149
Wisconsin 157 159
Wyoming 158 160
 
Puerto Rico NA NA
 

NA = not available.

NOTES: National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) grade 8 science scores are for public schools only. For additional details on NAEP scores by sex and race or ethnicity, see appendix tables 8-1–8-12.

SOURCE: National Center for Education Statistics, NAEP (various years).

Science and Engineering Indicators 2014


State Data Tool

The state data tool allows interactive exploration of the 58 indicators in this chapter. Users have the ability to choose and explore a single indicator in-depth, compare multiple indicators for preselected groups, customize their own graphics, or download data tables. Click the button below to get started.

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