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NAEP study shows students performing above national averages in science, but lack improvement

The latest results from the National Assessment for Educational Progress (NAEP) show Kentucky’s students performing above national averages in science in 2015, but also show a lack of improvement since the previous round of testing.

NAEP or the “nation’s report card,” shows Kentucky fourth and eighth graders with higher scale scores than the average results for the country. Today’s release also shows Kentucky’s Hispanic students, students with identified disabilities, and students eligible for free or reduced price meals performing at higher levels than similar students across the nation.


However, the results show no significant improvements since the last time Kentucky students took the NAEP science assessment (2009 for fourth grade and 2011 for eighth grade). Also, there has been no narrowing of gaps between student groups based on race, income, or disability.

For Kentucky to compete nationally and globally, each and every student must develop deep scientific knowledge and skills, moving well beyond current Kentucky levels and the national level of performance.  It is not enough for Kentucky to sustain past strength while other states make significant headway. Continuing and vigorous improvement is needed.

Kentucky has already taken two important steps to ensure improvement.  First, the Kentucky Academic Standards for Science expect more out of students than any past set of standards. Second, the Kentucky Department of Education is in the process of developing high quality aligned assessments that will measure student mastery of important scientific knowledge and skills while also providing information to adjust instruction.

Today’s NAEP science results underscore the importance of deepening implementation of the standards and call for a sense of urgency to build excellence with equity across all subject areas – including science.

Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence

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