The results are in and they’re not good. Eighth graders in the District scored lower in science-based subject matter achievement in 2011 than national averages.
The Nation’s Report Card is a biennial report conducted by the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) and measures a student’s knowledge and ability in the areas of physical science, life science, earth and space sciences.
The results released Thursday show when tested in these areas, D.C.’s eighth graders scored 112, compared to the national public average of 151.
School officials reacted to the scores with some details on how they plan to improve student academic performance in the District.
“Without question, today’s report is a sobering reality-check,” said State Superintendent Hosanna Mahaley. “Science proficiency is critical for eigth grade students’ high school, college and career readiness, and these results reflect a deficit that we will work diligently to overcome.”
“We will meet students where they are,” continued Mahaley, “and the 2011 NAEP findings allow us to, at a minimum, establish the baseline indicators, subject and skill-specific science instruction needed to align statewide student achievement to the global standards required of them to compete from cradle to career.”
Mahaley pointed out that fourth and eighth graders in the District showed improvement on the 2011 NAEP and explained that the ongoing statewide integration and alignment of Common Core standards will increase District schools’ instructional capacity and ability to emphasize science content, rigor, clarity and specificity.
Mentioning a collaborative effort already underway to raise the level of student science achievement in D.C., Mahaley explained how a statewide team of teachers, administrators, higher education representatives and state board members were assembled to examine the best practices in grade-level science education.
However, Mahaley did mention there is an increasing probability of the District’s scores being skewed because they are compared to entire states, instead of other similar urban centers.
“D.C. often ranks lower when compared to states such as Maryland, Ohio and Michigan when, by and large, a more accurate comparison to the District would be Baltimore, Cleveland or Detroit,” she noted.
Results are statewide and represent both District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS) and District public charter schools.