## Student Experiences

Below are selected NAEP science survey questionnaire results. These results describe students’ learning experiences, including time spent on science instruction (grades 4 and 8 only); participation in scientific inquiry-related classroom activities; availability of resources for science instruction (grades 4 and 8 only); students’ interest in and enjoyment of science (grades 8 and 12 only); science coursetaking (grade 12 only), and students’ interest in a science career (grade 12 only).

NAEP survey questionnaire responses provide additional information for understanding NAEP performance results. Although comparisons in students’ performance are made based on student, teacher, and school characteristics and educational experiences, these results cannot be used to establish a cause-and-effect relationship between the characteristics or experiences and student achievement. NAEP is not designed to identify the causes of performance differences. There are many factors that may influence average student achievement, including local educational policies and practices, the quality of teachers, and available resources. Such factors may change over time and vary among student groups; therefore, results must be interpreted with caution.

NAEP reports results using widely accepted statistical standards; findings are reported based on a statistical significance level set at .05, with appropriate adjustments for multiple comparisons. Students are always the unit of analysis when reporting NAEP survey questionnaire responses. The percentages shown are weighted and represent students or students whose teachers or school administrators indicated a specific response on the survey questionnaire. Some student responses are missing as a result of an inability to link students to their teachers’ or school administrators’ responses to the survey questionnaire or as a result of nonresponse from students, teachers, or school administrators. The denominator of the percentages presented excludes all students with missing information in the data for the analysis. The percentage distributions of reported survey response categories could change when students with missing data are included in the denominator. To find missing rates and explore student, teacher, and school questionnaire data further, use the NAEP Data Explorer.

#### Twenty-four percent of fourth-graders have teachers spending less than 2 hours per week teaching science

As a part of the 2019 NAEP science assessment, teachers of fourth-grade students indicated how much time they spent teaching science to their class in a typical week. In 2019, twenty-four percent of all fourth-grade students in the nation had teachers who reported spending less than 2 hours per week teaching science to their class. These students had a lower science score on average (149) than those whose teachers reported spending 2 to less than 4 hours per week (154) or at least 4 hours per week (156) teaching this subject.

The chart below shows the percentages of fourth-grade students below *NAEP Basic* and at or above *NAEP Proficient* whose teachers reported spending various amounts of time per week on science instruction in 2019. Compared to students performing at or above *NAEP Proficient**,* a larger percentage of students performing below *NAEP Basic* had teachers who reported spending less than 2 hours per week teaching science to their class. There was no statistically significant difference between the percentages of students performing below *NAEP Basic* and at or above *NAEP* *Proficient* whose teachers reported spending 2 to less than 4 hours per week or at least 4 hours per week teaching this subject.

How much time teachers spend on science instruction per week | Students below NAEP Basic | Students at or above NAEP Proficient |
---|---|---|

Less than 2 hours per week | ||

2 to less than 4 hours per week | ||

At least 4 hours per week |

`p`< .05) from students performing at or above

*NAEP Proficient*.

### See the detailed results for this question in NAEP Data Explorer:

#### Thirty percent of fourth-graders have teachers who report that their students participate in scientific inquiry-related classroom activities from *never to once or twice a year*

As part of the 2019 NAEP science assessment, teachers of fourth-graders indicated how often their students did various activities in class, including four types of activities that involved scientific inquiry: working with other students on a science activity or project; talking about the measurements and results from their hands-on activities; discussing the kinds of problems that engineers can solve; and figuring out different ways to solve a science problem. The response categories for these survey questions are *never, about once or twice a year, about once or twice a month, about once or twice a week, *and *every day or almost every day*. Teachers’ responses to these questions were combined to examine how often on average students participated in the four scientific inquiry-related activities.

In 2019, thirty percent of all fourth-grade students in the nation had teachers who reported students’ frequency of participation in the four scientific inquiry-related activities as ranging from *never* *to* *once or twice a year*. These students had a lower science score on average (149) than those whose teachers reported students’ frequency of participation in these activities as *once or twice a month* (154) or from *once or twice a week* *to* *every day *(157).

#### Larger percentage of lower-performing fourth-graders have teachers reporting that their students *never *or *about once or twice a year *participate in several scientific inquiry-related classroom activities compared to higher performers

The individual survey questions were examined to compare the frequency with which teachers of lower- and higher-performing fourth-graders reported that their students participated in various scientific inquiry-related activities. The chart below shows the percentages of lower-performing fourth-grade students (scoring below the 25th percentile on the science assessment) and higher-performing students (scoring at or above the 75th percentile) whose teachers reported that their students *never* or *about once or twice a year* participated in various scientific inquiry-related activities in 2019. Note that not all response categories are shown for each inquiry-related activity.

Percentage of fourth-grade students in NAEP science whose teachers reported the frequency with which students participate in various inquiry-related activities in science class, by percentile: 2019

Scientific inquiry-related activity | Percentage of students | |
---|---|---|

Students below 25th percentile | Students at or above 75th percentile | |

Students work with other students on a science activity/project |
||

Never | 3* | 1 |

Once or twice a year | 17* | 10 |

Once or twice a month | 37 | 35 |

Once or twice a week | 34* | 40 |

Every day or almost every day | 9* | 15 |

Students talk about the measurements and results from their hands-on activities |
||

Never | 4* | 1 |

Once or twice a year | 15* | 10 |

Once or twice a month | 45 | 42 |

Once or twice a week | 31* | 38 |

Every day or almost every day | 6 | 8 |

Students discuss the kinds of problems that engineers can solve |
||

Never | 11 | 9 |

Once or twice a year | 26 | 24 |

Once or twice a month | 42 | 45 |

Once or twice a week | 19 | 19 |

Every day or almost every day | 2 | 3 |

Students figure out different ways to solve a science problem |
||

Never | 5 | 3 |

Once or twice a year | 16 | 12 |

Once or twice a month | 42 | 41 |

Once or twice a week | 31 | 35 |

Every day or almost every day | 6 | 8 |

* Significantly different (*p* < .05) from students performing at or above the 75th percentile.

Compared to higher-performing students, a larger percentage of lower-performing students had teachers reporting that their students *never* or *about once or twice a year*

- worked with other students on a science activity or project;
- talked about the measurements and results from their hands-on activities; and
- figured out different ways to solve a science problem.

*never*or

*about once or twice a year*participate in various inquiry-related activities in science class, by percentiles: 2019

Scientific inquiry-related activities | Students below 25th percentile | Students at or above 75th percentile |
---|---|---|

Students work with other students on a science activity/project | ||

Students talk about the measurements and results from their hands-on activities | ||

Students discuss the kinds of problems that engineers can solve | ||

Students figure out different ways to solve a science problem |

^{*}Significantly different (

`p`< .05) from students performing at or above the 75th percentile.

### See the detailed results for this question in NAEP Data Explorer:

- How often science students did inquiry-related activities (average response)
- Students work with other students on a science activity or project
- Students talk about the measurements and results from their hands-on activities
- Students discuss the kinds of problems that engineers can solve
- Students figure out different ways to solve a science problem

#### Twenty-one percent of fourth-graders attend schools with laboratory facilities available for fourth-grade science instruction

As a part of the 2019 NAEP science assessment, school administrators of grade 4 students indicated whether their school had laboratory facilities available for fourth-grade science instruction.

In 2019, twenty-one percent of all grade 4 students in the nation attended schools that reported having laboratory facilities available for fourth-grade science instruction. This percentage was not significantly different compared to 2015 (21 percent) and 2009 (19 percent).

The average score of students attending schools that had laboratory facilities available for fourth-grade science instruction (156) in 2019 was not significantly different compared to 2015 (159) but was higher compared to 2009 (152). In 2019, there was a 6-point score gap between students attending schools that had laboratory facilities available and those attending schools that did not (150). This score gap was not significantly different from the 6-point score gap in 2015 but was larger than the 2-point score gap in 2009.

Year | Have laboratory facilities | Don't have laboratory facilities | Score gap |
---|---|---|---|

2019 | 156 | 150 | 6 |

2015 | 159 | 153* | 6 |

2009 | 152* | 150 | 2* |

##### Legend

`p`< .05) from 2019.

#### Larger percentage of lower-performing fourth-graders have teachers reporting that several resources for science instruction are *not at all *or to a *small extent *available to them compared to higher performers

Teachers of fourth-grade students indicated the extent to which various resources for science instruction such as science textbooks and supplies or equipment for science labs or demonstrations were available to them. The response categories for these survey questions are *not at all, small extent, moderate extent, *and *large extent*.

The chart below shows the percentages of lower-performing fourth-grade students (scoring below the 25th percentile on the science assessment) and higher-performing students (scoring at or above the 75th percentile) whose teachers reported that various resources for science instruction were *not at all *or to a *small extent *available to them in 2019. Note that not all response categories are shown for each resource.

Percentage of fourth-grade students in NAEP science whose teachers reported the availability of various resources for science instruction, by percentiles: 2019

Science instruction resources | Percentage of students | |
---|---|---|

Students below 25th percentile | Students at or above 75th percentile | |

Science textbooks |
||

Not at all | 19 | 18 |

Small extent | 16 | 15 |

Moderate extent | 23 | 21 |

Large extent | 41 | 46 |

Science magazines and books |
||

Not at all | 25* | 18 |

Small extent | 36 | 36 |

Moderate extent | 27 | 31 |

Large extent | 12 | 15 |

Supplies or equipment for science labs or demonstrations |
||

Not at all | 11* | 4 |

Small extent | 33* | 26 |

Moderate extent | 34* | 40 |

Large extent | 22* | 30 |

Space to conduct science labs |
||

Not at all | 24* | 16 |

Small extent | 34 | 30 |

Moderate extent | 27* | 33 |

Large extent | 15* | 22 |

Computers for teachers' use |
||

Not at all | 2* | 1 |

Small extent | 7 | 5 |

Moderate extent | 22 | 20 |

Large extent | 69* | 74 |

Science kits |
||

Not at all | 17* | 12 |

Small extent | 30 | 27 |

Moderate extent | 26 | 30 |

Large extent | 26* | 32 |

Scientific measurement instruments |
||

Not at all | 16* | 9 |

Small extent | 37* | 32 |

Moderate extent | 31* | 37 |

Large extent | 16* | 22 |

* Significantly different (*p* < .05) from students performing at or above the 75th percentile.

Compared to higher-performing students, a larger percentage of lower-performing grade 4 students had teachers reporting that the following resources were *not at all *or to a *small extent *available to them:

- science magazines and books (print or online);
- supplies or equipment for science labs or demonstrations;
- space to conduct science labs;
- computers for teachers’ use;
- science kits; and
- scientific measurement instruments (e.g., microscopes, thermometers, beakers, or weighing scales).

*not at all*or to a

*small extent*available to them, by percentiles: 2019

Science instruction resources | Students below 25th percentile | Students at or above 75th percentile |
---|---|---|

Science textbooks | ||

Science magazines and books | ||

Supplies or equipment for science labs or demonstrations | ||

Space to conduct science labs | ||

Computers for teachers' use | ||

Science kits | ||

Scientific measurement instruments |

^{*}Significantly different (

`p`< .05) from students performing at or above the 75th percentile.

### See the detailed results for this question in NAEP Data Explorer:

### Next page:

AboutNOTE: The NAEP science scale ranges from 0 to 300. In 2019, the digitally based NAEP science assessment was administered for the first time. The 2019 science report includes results from students who took the digitally based assessment and students who took the paper-based assessment. For more information, see the About page. The 2009, 2011, 2015, and 2019 NAEP science assessments were based on a new science framework introduced in 2009, which replaced the one used for the 1996, 2000, and 2005 assessments. The 2009 framework started a new NAEP science trend line so the results from the 2009, 2011, 2015, and 2019 assessments cannot be compared to those from previous assessment years. The 2011 NAEP science assessment for grade 8 was a special administration to permit comparisons with the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS). Detail may not sum to totals because of rounding or the omission of categories. Although the estimates (e.g., average scores or percentages) are shown as rounded numbers in the charts, the positions of the data points in the graphics are based on the unrounded numbers. Unrounded numbers were used for calculating the differences between the estimates, and for the statistical comparison test when the estimates were compared to each other. Not all apparent differences between estimates are statistically significant. For bar charts displayed on this page, categories shaded in dark blue represent the focal response categories that are highlighted in statement captions positioned below the graphic.

SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences, National Center for Education Statistics, National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), various years, 2009–19 Science Assessments.