MIAMI (CBSMiami) – New numbers from the National Assessment of Educational Progress paint a picture of eighth-grade science competency that is causing alarm bells for educators and politicians.
Overall, eighth-grade students scored just two percent better on science proficiency tests in 2011 than they did in 2009. Most states, including Florida, saw no significant change in the two years measured.
Florida saw a similar two percent improvement from 2009 to 2011 in science proficiency at the eighth grade level. Looking deeper in the numbers found that more students in the Sunshine State scored below basic competency than were at base or proficient levels.
According to the NAEP numbers, 38 percent of Florida eighth-graders were below basic level of proficiency. Thirty-four percent were at the basic level of proficiency, while 27 percent were labeled proficient and 1 percent was labeled advanced.
States that performed the worst in eighth-grade proficiency included: the District of Columbia, Mississippi, Louisiana, Hawaii, Nevada, New Mexico, Arizona, California, and Alabama.
Nationwide, 36 percent of eighth-grade students were below basic proficiency, 34 percent had basic proficiency in science and 29 percent were labeled proficient and 2 percent were labeled advanced.
The study also found that score gaps between races narrowing, but there was a significant gap between the scores for public school students versus public school students, despite public school students improving their overall numbers.