Nation's Report Card Home

Summary of Major Findings

A representative sample of 122,000 eighth-graders participated in the 2011 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) science assessment, which is designed to measure students' knowledge and abilities in the areas of physical science, life science, and Earth and space sciences. Results from the 2011 assessment are available for public and private school students in the nation and for public school students in 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Department of Defense schools.

National Results
State Results
Achievement-level results in eighth-grade NAEP science

Students at grade 8 score higher in 2011 than in 2009

  • The average eighth-grade science score increased from 150 in 2009 to 152 in 2011. 
  • For public school students, the average science score was higher in 2011 than in 2009, while there was no significant change in the score for private school students. 

See all the average score results by student group.

Higher percentage of eighth-graders in 2011 perform at or above Basic and Proficient than in 2009

  • The percentages of students performing at or above the Basic and Proficient levels were higher in 2011 than in 2009. 
  • There was no significant change from 2009 to 2011 in the percentage of students at the Advanced level. 

See all the achievement level results by student group.

Score gaps narrow between some racial/ethnic groups but did not change for males and females

  • Score gaps between White and Black students and between White and Hispanic students narrowed from 2009 to 2011. 
  • Average scores for both male and female students were higher in 2011 than in 2009.
  • Male students scored 5 points higher on average than female students in 2011, which was not significantly different from the 4-point gap in 2009.

Find out how to interpret NAEP science results.

For more information, browse the report online or download a copy of the report.

NOTE: See complete data for science grade 8.
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences, National Center for Education Statistics, National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), various years, 2009 and 2011 Science Assessments.