National Average Scores
Overall Score Results
Lower average science score for fourth-graders compared to 2015
The average science score for fourth-grade students in 2019 was 2 points lower compared to 2015, the previous assessment year, while the average score was higher by 1 point compared to the first assessment year in 2009. Average scores are reported on the NAEP science scale at grade 4 that ranges from 0 to 300 (although student performance typically ranges from 103 to 196, representing the 10th and 90th percentiles, respectively). In 2009, the mean of the science scale was set at 150 and the standard deviation at 35.
The chart below shows the trend in average science scores beginning in 2009 and the cut scores indicating the lower end of the score range for each NAEP achievement level: NAEP Basic, NAEP Proficient, and NAEP Advanced. Read a description of each NAEP achievement level by clicking the question mark icons. Read more about NAEP achievement levels and how they are set. Please note that NAEP achievement levels are to be used on a trial basis and should be interpreted and used with caution.
Scores by Percentile
Scores decrease compared to 2015 for lower- and middle-performing fourth-grade students
NAEP scores are reported at five selected percentiles to show the progress made by lower-performing (10th and 25th percentiles), middle-performing (50th percentile), and higher-performing (75th and 90th percentiles) students. In comparison to 2015, the 2019 science scores were lower for fourth-graders performing at the 10th, 25th, and 50th percentiles. For lower-performing students at the 10th and 25th percentiles, the 2019 scores were lower by 5 points and 4 points, respectively, compared to 2015. In 2019, the score for middle-performing students at the 50th percentile was 2 points lower in comparison to 2015.
In comparison to 2009, science scores in 2019 were higher for higher-performing students at the 75th and 90th percentiles by 2 points and 3 points, respectively. There were no significant changes in the scores for lower- and middle-performing students in 2019 compared to 2009.