TEA News Releases Online
Jan. 25, 2011
Texas’ white eighth-grade students earn second highest score
in nation on science NAEP
AUSTIN – According to test results released today by the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), every major ethnic group in Texas scored higher on the redesigned eighth-grade NAEP science test than did their peers nationally, and white students earned the second-highest score in the country.
Only eighth-grade students attending the Department of Defense schools, who earned an average scale score of 170, scored higher on the exam than Texas’ white students who tied with white students in Massachusetts with the second highest score of 167.
The 2009 NAEP science assessment is based on a new framework that keeps content current with key developments in science, curriculum standards, assessments and research. Therefore, the 2009 scores cannot be compared to previous NAEP scores.
Both the fourth and eighth-grade tests cover three broad areas – physical science, life science, and earth and space sciences. The score range for each assessment is 0-300.
At the eighth grade level, students earned the following scale scores.
The Texas scores are considered by NAEP to be statistically higher than the national average except for the scores for the all students category.
“While we still have room for improvement, Texas students fared well when compared to student groups nationally. In recent years, Texas has worked to improve science instruction through its focus on Science, Technology, Mathematics and Engineering (STEM) programs. We have also made a concerted effort to focus on science education through state policy, standards and assessment. I think we are beginning to see results from those efforts,” said Commissioner of Education Robert Scott.
Texas’ fourth-grade students posted results similar to the eighth-grade scores, with white students receiving the third highest average scale scores in the country at 168. Students in Virginia earned the top spot with an average scale score of 172, followed by Massachusetts at 169.
Only African-American students in Virginia and at the Department of Defense schools, who earned average scores of 141, scored higher than Texas students. African-American students in Texas and Maine earned an average scale score of 139.
At the fourth-grade level, students earned the following scores.
Statistically, the Texas scores differed significantly from the national public school scores for all groups except Asian American and the all students category.
About 6,300 Texas fourth-grade students and 5,900 Texas eighth-grade students took the NAEP science test. Schools are selected to participate in NAEP through a stratified random sampling process, with the intention of mirroring Texas’ demographics.