Montana Students Outpace Nation on New Science Assessment


Thursday, January 27, 2011
By Allyson Hagen
406-444-3160

Montana Students Outpace Nation on New Science Assessment

 

HELENA –Montana students exceeded the national average on an assessment of science content, outscoring the nation by more than 10 points. The National Assessment of Educational Progress, also called "The Nation's Report Card," details the continued achievement of Montana fourth- and eighth-graders on tests administered by the U.S. Department of Education in January and February of 2009. 

 

"This is great news, especially considering how the fields of science, medicine and technology are growing in our 21st century economy," said Superintendent of Public Instruction Denise Juneau.  "These scores demonstrate that our teachers are preparing students for the jobs of today and tomorrow."

 

In eighth grade, we share the highest score in the nation with just three other states. The Montana fourth-grade average score ranked among the second highest state average scores, only three points away from the highest score in the nation. (Some state scores were equal.) Additionally, 2 percent of eighth-graders scored at the advanced level, higher proportions than any other state.

The NAEP science assessment was updated in 2009 to stay current with key developments in science, curriculum standards, assessments and research. It is organized into three content areas: physical science, life science and earth and space science. The new test also included essay and word problems as well as multiple choice questions.

 

4th Grade: The report shows that fourth-graders in Montana scored 160 on average, compared to the national average score of 149.

 

8th Grade: The report shows that eighth-graders in Montana scored 162 on average, compared to the national average score of 149.

 

The NAEP results also show low-income students in Montana scored at or above the national average.  Montana students eligible for free or reduced lunch scored 15 points higher than students eligible for free or reduced lunch nationally in fourth grade and 18 points higher in eighth grade.

 

“These results are something we can all be proud of. Montana schools are making significant progress in closing the achievement gap,” said Juneau.

 

The Nation’s Report Card: Science 2009 and additional data collected from the 2009 science assessment are available online at http://nationsreportcard.gov.

 

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