Just the Facts: U.S. Science Achievement
|Flat Long-term Trend in
U.S. Science Achievement
|Year||Average Scale Score|
|Age 9||Age 13||Age 17|
|Source: National Assessment of Educational Progress|
For more than three decades, the long-term trend studies of the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) have tracked how well U.S. students perform in science at three age/grade levels. The trends in test scores for 9-year-olds and 13-year-olds have been relatively flat. For 17-year-olds, scores dropped sharply during the 1970s and have since risen steadily, though not to the level achieved when the tests were first administered.
The results from the 2000 annual NAEP science assessment showed 29 percent of fourth-graders were proficient or above in science. By eighth grade, this percentage rises to 32 percent. However, by 12 grade the percentage plummets to just 18 percent.
|U.S. Science Proficiency Plummets in High School|
|Percent of Students
Proficient and Above
|Source: Nation's Report Card for Science: 2000|
Results from the Third International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) also indicate U.S. student achievement in science falls off as grade level increases. While U.S. fourth-graders are better than average in science compared to their peers in other countries, U.S. twelfth-graders score well below average.
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|U.S. High School Students Lag the World in Science
Third International Math and Science Study
|Source: National Center for Education Statistics|
Information on the National Assessment of Education Progress, also known as “the Nation’s Report Card,” is available online at http://nces.ed.gov/nationsreportcard.
Information on international comparisons in education, including results from the Third International Math and Science Study, is available online at http://nces.ed.gov/surveys/international.