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Georgia Students Show Significant Growth on National Science Assessment

8TH Grade Students Score at National Average

MEDIA CONTACT: Matt Cardoza, GaDOE Communications Office, (404) 651-7358, mcardoza@gadoe.org
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May 10, 2012 -- Georgia students showed significant two-year growth in science, according to national test results released today. The results of the 2011 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) in science show Georgia’s 8th graders had a four-point scale score increase, compared to just two points for the nation. This increase brings Georgia’s average scale score to that of the nation’s scale score average (151).
 
"This is an extremely encouraging report of our students’ progress in science education,” said State School Superintendent Dr. John Barge. “As we move away from No Child Left Behind and begin using the College and Career Ready Performance Index, I am confident we will continue to see science results increase, because science will have the same focus and accountability as every other content area. No matter what subgroup of students you look at, these results show us that more of our students are getting the science knowledge and skills necessary to meet the demands of the many science-related jobs in the labor market.”
 
“We know that economic development in the 21st century will be driven by advances in the critical STEM fields,” said Governor Nathan Deal. “These promising gains made by Georgia students demonstrate that we are on the right track towards ensuring that all students will be college and work ready.”
Highlights from the NAEP Report:
·        The average scale score for students in Georgia was 151.  This was significantly higher than Georgia’s average scale score in 2009 (147).  This was the same as the average scale score of 151 for the nation’s public school students.
·        The percentage of students in Georgia who performed at or above Basic was 63 percent, which was significantly higher than the percentage in 2009 (58 percent). This was not significantly different from that for the nation’s public schools (64 percent).
·        The percentage of students in Georgia who performed at or above Proficient increased from 27 percent in 2009 to 30 percent in 2011. Georgia’s 30 percent at or above Proficient was near that for the nation’s public schools (31 percent).
·        The average science score for White students in Georgia increased from 161 in 2009 to 166 in 2011
·        Black students’ average score increased from 129 in 2009 to 133 in 2011
·        Scores for Hispanic students increased from 137 in 2009 to 143 in 2011.
·        In 2011, the gap between the average score for Blacks students and White students was 33 points for Georgia, which was smaller than the nation (35 points). 
·        The gap between the average score for Hispanic students and White students was 23 points for Georgia, which was also smaller than the nation (27 points).
·        Comparing 2009 to 2011, the average scale score for males increased from 150 to 153 and the average score for females increased from 144 to 148.
·        The average scale score for students who were eligible for the National School Lunch Program (i.e., free/reduced-price lunch) in Georgia significantly increased from 133 in 2009 to 138 in 2011. 
 
“Georgia’s students and teachers have much to be proud of with these results,” Superintendent Barge added. “However, while we are pleased with the gains, we aren’t fully satisfied with being at the national average. We want to continuing climbing and stay above the national average.”
 
The National Assessment of Educational Progress is a test given to a representative sampling of students from each state across the nation. The test is scored on a scale from 0 to 300 and is also broken down into four scoring categories: below basic, basic, proficient and advanced.     
 
MORE INFORMATION
-        NAEP Brief