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Back to Jan. Ed Reporter

Education Reporter
NUMBER 144 THE NEWSPAPER OF EDUCATION RIGHTS JANUARY 1998
U.S. Students Stumped by Science

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WASHINGTON, DC -- The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) science test scores are in, and they show a proven lack of knowledge among American students in the earth, physical and life sciences. Students in grades 4, 8 and 12 were tested according to performance standards adopted by the National Assessment Governing Board.

Only 18% of 12th graders performed at the proficient level, while 26% of 4th and 8th grade students performed at that level. At the basic level, 38% of 4th graders, 32% of 8th graders, and 36% of 12th graders achieved a passing score.

Only 3% of students at all three grade levels tested at the advanced level, while 43% of 12th graders-children who are about to enter college-did not reach even the basic level of achievement. Fully one-third of 4th graders tested below basic, while 39% of 8th graders did so. (The basic level of performance indicates a partial mastery of subject prerequisites and skills.)

The scores reflected lower achievement levels for blacks and Hispanics, and for students in Title I programs and free or reduced school lunch programs.

Higher levels of parental education were associated with higher test scores at all three grade levels. At the 4th grade level, boys did better than girls in attaining the proficient level, with the differences disappearing at the 8th grade level, and reappearing at all achievement levels for 12th graders.

Students attending private and parochial schools performed better at all grade levels than their public school counterparts, with the differences more pronounced at the 4th grade level.


 
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