Gains in average math scores on the 2009 National Assessment of Education Progress continued for 8th graders, but scores leveled out for 4th graders.
Nationally, about 82 percent of 4th graders and 72 percent of 8th graders performed at or above the tests’ “basic” levels. In Colorado, 84 percent of 4th graders and 76 percent of 8th graders scored at basic or above. Results were announced Wednesday by NAEP.
Basic is defined as showing “prerequisite knowledge and skills that are fundamental for proficient work.”
The national scores for 4th graders were unchanged from 2007 but higher than those recorded in six tests from 1990 to 2005. For 8th graders there was a two-point increase from 2007. This year 39 percent of 4th graders and 34 percent of 8th graders scored “proficient” or higher.
The NAEP program, known by the well-worn title of “the nation’s report card,” periodically gives identical tests in various subjects to selected groups of students across the nation. (The annual achievement tests given annually to all students in certain grades under the No Child Left Behind law are different state-to-state.)
NAEP tests are scored from 0 to 500.
The Colorado Department of Education reported that in both grades there was no significant change in closing scoring gaps between white and black and Hispanic students.
According to CDE, in 2009 state 4th graders had an average score of 243, lower than those of students in Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey and Vermont; about the same as those of students in 21 other states or jurisdictions and higher than scores in 25 states.
Colorado is one of eight states or jurisdictions where 4th graders have significantly improved in math since 2007. English language learners and students with disabilities in Colorado have noticeably improved their scores since 2003.
The average scale score for Colorado 8th graders was 287, below those of Massachusetts, Minnesota, Montana, New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Dakota, South Dakota and Vermont, about the same as in 20 states and higher than 23 others.
Scores have remained stable since 2007 but improved since 2005 and 2003, according to CDE.
Nationally, 162,963 4th graders in 9,004 public schools and 156,178 8th graders in 6,589 schools in took the tests. In Colorado, about 2,600 4th graders in 154 schools and some 2,700 8th-grade students in 121 schools participated. The tests take about an hour and are designed to measure students in five areas: number properties and operations, measurement, geometry, data analysis, statistics and probability and algebra.
The NAEP tests have been given since 1969 in reading, mathematics, science, writing, U.S. history, civics, geography and arts. The program is part of the U.S. Department of Education.
Results from a 12th grade math assessment and from 2009 science and reading assessments will be released next year.
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