Dover, Del.–May 24, 2006Earlier today, results from the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) Science assessments were released by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). The NAEP assessments, known as the“Nation’s Report Card,” were administered to all fourth and eighth grade public school students in Delaware from January through March of 2005.
In most states, only a sample of schools is selected to participate in the NAEP assessments.Since Delaware is such a small state and a certain sample size is needed for accurate results, nearly all Delaware public fourth and eighth grade students were part of the samples. Students were tested in one of three subjects randomly assigned by NCES: math, reading or science. Reading and mathematics results were previously released in October 2005.
Delaware participated in NAEP Science in 1996 and Delaware eighth grade data is available for comparison. Although many states participated in the NAEP Science in 2000, when the state-level 4th grade science assessments began, Delaware did not take part because a number of school districts chose not to participate. NAEP participation is now required under the federal law, No Child Left Behind.
In today’s release, the average scale score for Delaware students is 152 on the fourth grade 2005 science assessment. In Delaware, four groups of students (All, African American, Hispanic and Low Income) scored significantly higher than the nation (national public schools only). Caucasian students’ average scale score were similar to the nation. Delaware’s performance gaps at fourth grade were lower than the gap in national public schools for the White-African American gap, the White-Hispanic gap and the Low Income-Non-Low Income gap.
In grade 8 science, Delaware scored higher than the national public school average in all student groups. Although all students improved between 1996 and 2005, the only performance gap that narrowed was the gap between low income and non-low income students.
In terms of 2005 science achievement levels, Delaware has significantly more students performing at the Basic and Above levels than the national public schools in both fourth and eighth grades. Delaware’s percentage of students at Proficient and above is statistically the same as the nation’s public schools in both grades. Between 1996 and 2005, Delaware had a significant increase in the number of eighth grade students that moved to Proficient and Above. In 1996 only 21% of Delaware’s students were performing at the Proficient level, but in 2005 this number increased to 29%. For students performing at Basic and Above levels, Delaware increased this percentage of eighth grade students from 51% in 1996 to 63% in 2005.
Between 1996-2005, Delaware eighth grade students had a ten point gain in average scale score in science.This is the largest gain for this time period for any state, although statistically it is equal to gains in South Carolina (+7), Virginia (+6) and Louisiana (+6). For this same time period, the national public schools average decreased by one point. Despite the gains in Delaware, there are eighteen states with significantly higher 2005 average scale scores in science in both fourth and eighth grades.
“We can certainly be proud of our increases in performance from 1996 to 2005,” said Secretary of EducationValerie A. Woodruff. “We will closely examine the results and work with our districts and schools toward continued improvement for the future.”
Governor Ruth Ann Minner also praised the effort being done in science. “Delaware’s ongoing focus in science, especially biotechnology, will compliment our continued work in this important content area.”
For additional information, please visit the NAEP website for the Official Release of the NAEP 2005 Science Results at: www.nationsreportcard.gov
Delaware Department of Education
401 Federal Street, Suite #2
Dover, Delaware 19901
Phone: (302) 735-4035
Fax: (302) 739-4654
Other Press Releases