CONTACT:  Michele Clark
Communications Coordinator

Vol. 45, No. 7

January 25, 2011


Science Scores Released in NAEP Report Card 

Snapshot Reports:

Missouri Public Schools

A national report card released today reveals less than one-half of students in grades 4, 8 and 12 are proficient in science.  According to the 2009 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) report, 40 percent of Missouri’s fourth-graders and 36 percent of eighth-graders are performing at or above the “proficient” level in science.

Proficiency levels of students in Missouri public schools compare favorably with the nation’s fourth-graders (32 percent) and eighth-graders (29 percent). In both grades, only four states scored significantly higher than Missouri.

“I am pleased the report shows many of our students scored well compared to their peers,” said Commissioner of Education Chris Nicastro. “This is a promising sign, yet we have much more work ahead to ensure all Missouri students develop a solid foundation in science throughout their academic careers.”

Also known as the Nation’s Report Card, NAEP is the largest continuing and nationally representative measure of academic achievement of elementary and secondary students in the U.S. The science assessment measures students’ knowledge and abilities in the areas of physical science, life science, and Earth and space sciences.

A smaller number of 12th-grade students were assessed. National results show only 21 percent of seniors performed at or above the “proficient” level.

“We must put a greater emphasis on science and math if we hope to help students succeed in college and careers,” Nicastro said. “We cannot be competitive if less than one-half of students are able to demonstrate competency over challenging subject matter.”

Nationally, only one-third of 12th-graders reported that they either completed or were currently taking courses in biology, chemistry and physics. These students scored higher on average than those who reported taking just biology and chemistry, or taking only biology or other science courses.

The assessment, administered by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) was recently updated to incorporate new advances in science, research on science learning and components from international science assessments. Because of the changes to the assessment, the results from 2009 cannot be compared to previous assessment years.


The Nation’s Report Card: Science 2009 Grades 4, 8 and 12 is available at