Maine students outscore peers in science

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AUGUSTA – Maine students scored slightly higher in science than the rest of the nation, according to test results released Wednesday by the National Assessment of Educational Progress.

The NAEP science test is administered every five years. Last year fourth- and eighth-graders were given the science test.

For fourth-graders, Maine’s average score was 160, higher than the nation’s average of 149.

In Maine, 36 percent of fourth-graders performed at or above proficient. That means there was no significant improvement from 2000, when 37 percent performed at proficient.

The percentage of Maine fourth-graders who performed at or above basic was 81 percent last year. Again, that scored showed no improvement from 2000, when 82 percent scored at basic.

For eighth-graders, Maine students scored 158, higher than the national average of 147. In 2000 Maine eighth-graders scored 158.

The number of Maine eighth-graders who scored at or above proficient last year was 34 percent; those who scored at or above basic was 72 percent. That shows no improvement from 2000, when 35 percent scored at proficient, and 72 percent scored at basic.

Last year 45 states and jurisdictions voluntarily participated in the NAEP testing.

Test booklets were distributed randomly to a representative sample of fourth- and eighth-grade students across each state.

Maine’s poorer students, those receiving free or reduced-price lunch, scored 11 to 13 points lower than those not receiving free or reduced-price lunch. However, Maine’s poorer students scored higher than the nation for both grades.

NAEP reading, mathematics and writing assessments will be administered next year between Jan. 22 and Feb. 16.

Nationally 148,000 fourth-graders and 143,000 eighth-graders participated in the science tests. In Maine, 2,700 fourth-graders and 2,600 eighth-graders were assessed in science.

– Bonnie Washuk

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