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WV Students Top Southeast and Nation on 2000 NAEP Science Assessment

November 20, 2001

West Virginia’s fourth and eighth graders outperformed their southeast and national counterparts on the 2000 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) Science Assessment.  

West Virginia’s fourth graders– who participated for the first time in the science testing– scored 150 compared to the southeast score of 141 and a national score of 148. Eighth graders in West Virginia scored 150 compared to 143 and 149 for the southeast and nation, respectively.  

The scores were released today by the National Center for Education Statistics. NAEP, also known as the “Nation’s Report Card,” is the only nationally representative and continuing assessment of what America’s students know and can do in various subject areas.  

“We are extremely pleased with the strong showing by West Virginia’s fourth and eighth graders,” said State Superintendent of Schools Dr. David Stewart. “And we are especially gratified that last year’s eighth graders improved the average scale score by three points over the 1996 testing. This is a clear indication that our teachers are doing an excellent job in teaching the three key elements of NAEP science testing– conceptual understanding, scientific investigation and practical reasoning.”  

There are three achievement levels assessed by NAEP testing: basic, proficient and advanced. Basic achievement is partial mastery of knowledge and skills; proficient signifies solid academic performance; and advanced means superior performance.  

Sixty-nine percent of West Virginia’s fourth grade students scored at or above the basic level compared to 56% in the southeast and 64% in the nation.  

Of the state’s eighth graders participating, 61% performed at or above the basic level compared to 52% in the southeast and 59% nationally.  

Since 1990, NAEP assessments have been conducted in West Virginia in reading, mathematics, science and writing. The NAEP science test measures three major fields of science: earth, physical and life. Students are assessed in the following areas: knowledge of facts; an ability to integrate this knowledge into larger constructs; and the capacity to use tools, procedures and reasoning processes of science.  

For more information about NAEP testing, visit: http://nces.ed.gov/nationsreportcard  

For state information, contact: West Virginia NAEP Coordinator Beth Cipoletti: 304-558-2546 or West Virginia Science Director Phyllis Barnhart: 304-558-7805

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