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Achievement-Level Trends in Science 1996–2005

  • At grade 4, the percentage of students performing at or above Basic increased from 63 percent in 1996 and 2000 to 68 percent in 2005. There was no significant difference between the percentage of fourth-grade students performing at or above Proficient in 2005 and previous assessment years. The percentage of fourth-grade students performing at Advanced was fractionally lower in 2005 compared to 1996.   
  • The percentages of eighth-grade students performing at or above Basic  and at or above Proficient in 2005 were not significantly different from the percentages in previous assessment years, but the percentage of students performing at Advanced was lower in 2005 than in 2000. 
  • The percentages of twelfth-grade students performing at or above Basic, at or above Proficient, and at Advanced were lower in 2005 than in 1996.
Trend in fourth-grade NAEP science achievement-level performance
Assessment year Below Basic At or above Basic At or above Proficient At Advanced
1996 37 * 63 * 28 3 *
2000 37 * 63 * 27 3
2005 32   68   29   3  
* Significantly different from 2005.
NOTE: Detail may not sum to totals because of rounding. View complete data with standard errors for grade 4.
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences, National Center for Education Statistics, National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), 1996, 2000, and 2005 Science Assessments.

Sample sizes and rounding can result in apparent inconsistencies. For example, in the table above for both 1996 and 2005, the percentage of fourth-grade students performing at Advanced  nationwide is 3, yet the numbers are marked as being significantly different. The actual unrounded numbers are 3.27 in 1996 and 2.54 in 2005, a 0.73 percentage point difference that is statistically significant.

View more information about science achievement levels on the NAEP website. Read the specific definitions of the Basic, Proficient, and Advanced achievement levels for grades 4, 8, and 12.

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