The information released today by the National Center for Education Statistics is part of the National Assessment for Educational Progress (NAEP), also known as the Nation’s Report Card (http://nces.ed.gov/nationsreportcard).
“The 2000 NAEP math results indicate that West Virginia’s students have shown significant improvement in mathematics,” said State Superintendent Dr. David Stewart. “Not only have overall scores improved since 1996, but a much larger percentage of West Virginia students are now scoring in the ‘at or above basic’ and ‘at or above proficient’ categories than they were eight years ago, while fewer students are scoring in the ‘below basic’ category,” he noted.
“West Virginia’s efforts are beginning to pay off in the form of higher math achievement,” Dr. Stewart explained. “Initiatives such as Project MERIT (Mathematics Education Reform Initiative for Teachers), our Elementary Math Academy, Algebra for All workshops, and the Governor’s School for Math and Science, scheduled to begin in 2002, were all developed to improve math achievement.”
In the assessment, students are grouped into four categories (from lowest to highest): “below basic,” “at or above basic,” “at or above proficient,” and “advanced.” Fourth and eighth grade students across the nation were tested. The average scale score for West Virginia’s fourth graders improved from 215 in 1992, to 223 in 1996, to 225 in 2000. The average scale scores for eighth graders were 259, 265 and 271 during those same three years.
Sixty-eight percent of West Virginia’s fourth graders and 62 percent of eighth graders scored in the “at or above basic” category in 2000, compared to 52 percent and 47 percent in 1992 -– an improvement of 16 and 15 percentage points, respectively. Thirty-two percent of the state’s fourth graders and 38 percent of the state’s eighth graders scored in the “below basic” category in 2000, compared to 48 percent of fourth graders and 53 percent of eighth graders who scored in that category in 1992 -– an improvement of 16 and 15 percentage points, respectively. In the ‘at or above proficient’ category, West Virginia’s students also showed significant improvement. In 1992, 12 percent of fourth graders and 10 percent of eighth graders scored in this category, compared to 18 percent in both the fourth and eighth grades in 2000.
For the first time, the National Center for Education Statistics also reported state data including the scores of students who were given accommodations because of disability or limited English proficiency. With these scores included, West Virginia’s average scale scores dropped slightly -– to 223 for fourth graders and to 266 for eighth graders. As these scores were not reported in prior years on a state-by-state basis, this year’s sample in which accommodations were permitted will serve as baseline data for future NAEP math assessments.