SDE: NAEP Science Release
Press Room

Dr. Betty J. Sternberg
Contact: Communications Office
(860) 713-6548

EMBARGOED UNTIL  WEDNESDAY, MAY 24, 2006 @ 10:00 A.M.

Connecticut reports performance on science component
of National Assessment of Educational Progress

Connecticut results on the 2005 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) science test show that the percentage of Grade 4 and 8 students scoring at or above the NAEP proficient level continues to remain consistently above the national average. Overall, Connecticut Grade 4 and 8 students in 2005 achieved the same level of performance as students in 2000.

“While Connecticut students perform as well or better than their counterparts in most other states, we cannot be satisfied with our performance,” said Dr. Betty J. Sternberg, Commissioner of Education. “We need to significantly raise the level of achievement in science in order to compete in the global economy. In addition, we continue to be concerned about the unacceptable and persistent gaps in the performance of minority and poor children.”

In 1996, Grade 8 students participated in the first administration of state-level NAEP science. The assessment was administered to eighth-grade students again in 2000 when Grade 4 students were also included in the assessment. Although state participation in NAEP science is voluntary, state legislation requires Connecticut public school districts to participate.

The Nation’s Report Card, based on NAEP results, compares state 2005 performance with the previous administrations’ performance and compares performance across participating states as a whole and by subgroup. NAEP reports results for four levels of performance: below basic, basic, proficient and advanced. The NAEP science test assesses concepts and skills in three broad areas: earth, life and physical science.

“While there is a legitimate focus on reading, writing and mathematics in the elementary grades, it is crucial that our students master 21st century skills and content that go well-beyond these core areas,” Sternberg said. “In an absolute sense, the percentage of our students who perform at the proficient level and above is an unacceptable 33 percent.”

The next administration of NAEP science will occur in 2009, about one year after the first administration of a science assessment as part of the Connecticut Mastery Test in Grades 5 and 8, as required by the No Child Left Behind Act. The State Department of Education has taken several steps to increase science performance. In 2004, the state science curriculum framework was updated and adopted by the State Board of Education for use in all districts. Both the Connecticut science framework and the NAEP science framework are aligned to the same rigorous national standards. The Department is also directing resources to provide professional development for teachers in order to improve science education for all students.

“Improving student interest and performance in science is central to expanding the pipeline of graduates who are prepared to pursue careers in the science, medical and technical fields,” Sternberg said. “This is essential for Connecticut to continue to successfully compete in the 21st century.”

2005 NAEP SCIENCE HIGHLIGHTS

GRADE 4 (number of students tested = 2,768)

Percent at/above proficient

  • The percentage of Connecticut students performing at the proficient level and above (33 percent) is higher than that of students across the nation (27 percent).

  • Forty-four states including Connecticut participated in the Grade 4 NAEP science assessment. Connecticut’s Grade 4 students performed as well as or better than Grade 4 students in 39 states. Fifteen states were equal to Connecticut, while 24 states had a significantly lower percentage of students who scored at or above proficient. Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont and Virginia had a significantly higher percentage of students scoring at or above proficient.

  • With regard to proficiency, white students perform above the national average, while black and Hispanic student performance is not significantly different from the national averages of their counterparts.

  • The percentage of Connecticut students performing at the proficient level and above in 2005 (33 percent) is not significantly different from that in 2000 (35 percent).

  • The percentage of students with disabilities performing at the proficient level and above decreased significantly when compared to the performance of the same subgroup in 2000 (10 percent in 2005 and 25 percent in 2000).

  • Gender differences in Grade 4 continue: 35 percent of Connecticut males achieved proficiency or higher in 2005, while 30 percent of females did so. The performance of both groups is not significantly different from 2000.

  • While 9 percent of Connecticut’s economically disadvantaged students performed at the proficient level and above, 42 percent of their non-disadvantaged peers achieved proficiency. The percentage of economically disadvantaged students scoring at proficient or higher in 2005 is not statistically different from 2000 (11 percent).

  • The percentage of Connecticut white students scoring at or above the proficient level is not significantly different from the percentage of Asian/Pacific Islander students scoring at or above the proficient level. The performance of both of these subgroups is higher than that of black and Hispanic students. The performance gap, based on average scale scores, between white and black students and white and Hispanic students has not narrowed significantly since the 2000 administration.

 

GRADE 8 (number of students tested = 2,744)

 

Percent at/above proficient

 

  • The percentage of Connecticut students performing at the proficient level and above (33 percent) is higher than that of students across the nation (27 percent).
  • Forty-four states including Connecticut participated in the Grade 8 NAEP science assessment.  Connecticut’s Grade 8 students outperformed their counterparts in 20 states. Fourteen states were equal to Connecticut while nine states (Massachusetts, Minnesota, Montana, New Hampshire, North Dakota, South Dakota, Vermont, Wisconsin and Wyoming) had a significantly higher percentage of students scoring at or above proficient.
  • With regard to proficiency, white students perform above the national average, while black and Hispanic student performance is not significantly different from the national averages of their counterparts.
  • Connecticut students performing at the proficient level and above (33 percent) is not significantly different from 1996 or 2000.
  • There was not a statistically significant difference in performance between our male and female students: 34 percent of males achieved proficiency, while 32 percent of females performed at the same level. These results are not significantly different from the 1996 or 2000 performance. While the percentage of our male students achieving proficiency is equal to that our nation’s males, our female students outperform female students nationally (25 percent at or above proficient).
  • The percentage of white students scoring at or above the proficient level was not significantly different from the percentage of Asian/Pacific Islander students scoring at or above the proficient level. The performance of both of these subgroups is higher than that of black and Hispanic students. 

The National Report is available on the web: http://nces.ed.gov/nationsreportcard.





Content Last Modified on 9/26/2006 11:51:04 AM