Science Scores Set a Positive Trend in West Virginia Schools

May 24, 2006

Charleston, W.Va. – West Virginia students continued to show strength in science evidenced through the most recently released NAEP scores. The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) has two major goals: to compare student achievement in states and other jurisdictions and to track changes in achievement of fourth-, eighth-, and twelfth-graders over time in mathematics, reading, writing, science, and other content domains.  

According to NAEP, West Virginia 4th grade students increased their science score to 151 in 2005 from 149 in 2000. The West Virginia score is also higher than the national score of 149.  

West Virginia Eighth grade student performance also increased in 2005 with a score of 147 compared to the score of 146 in 2000. The national average score in 2005 was also 147.  

The West Virginia Department of Education has put an additional emphasis on increasing the rigor of science curriculum for all West Virginia students.  

The West Virginia Science Content Standards and Objectives (CSO) are closely aligned to nationally accepted standards as is the NAEP assessment. The strength that our students have shown in science may be attributed to a strong and rigorous curriculum that emphasizes hands-on activities and inquiry-based learning.  

“It is evident that if our students are to succeed in the 21st century science and math skills must be at the core of our curriculum,” said State Superintendent of Schools Steve Paine. “West Virginia is going beyond the basic requirements of No Child Left Behind and adding quality to equity in education,” added Paine.  

The NAEP assesses a representative sample of West Virginia students statewide by distributing the assessment questions in each content area among groups of test takers who take different versions of the test. Unlike many other assessments, about half of all NAEP questions require students to provide a thoroughly written response rather than selection of a multiple-choice answer.  

Any student capable of taking the WESTEST, the state assessment, was required to take the NAEP exam if chosen through the random sampling. As a result, West Virginia includes more students with disabilities than many other states.  

For more information regarding the NAEP results contact, the Office of Student Assessment at (304) 558-2546 or visit  

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