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2015 NAEP Science Release Event

Higher Percentages Reached Proficient Level on Science in 2015

Black-White Score Gaps and Hispanic-White Score Gaps Narrow 

The Nation’s Report Card: 2015 Science shows scores have improved overall, and higher percentages of the nation’s fourth- and eighth-grade students demonstrated mastery of science on the 2015 assessment compared with the 2009 assessment. The results also show score gaps narrowing by race/ethnicity. The average score of 12th-grade students did not change between 2009 and 2015.



In 2015, 22 percent of 12th-graders performed at or above the Proficient achievement level, which denotes competency over challenging subject matter. Additionally, 38 percent of fourth-graders and 34 percent of eighth-graders performed at or above Proficient — an increase of 4 percentage points at both grades compared with 2009.


Report Card Highlights

  • At grades four and eight, students scored higher in 2015 than in 2009 in all three science content areas: physical science, life science, and Earth and space sciences.
  • Results by Gender. In 2015, fourth-grade male students scored about the same as fourth-grade female students, eliminating the gender difference.
  • Four states and jurisdictions showed score gains at grade four that were larger than the national average score gain from 2009 to 2015: Arizona, DoDEA schools, Georgia and Tennessee. At grade eight, three states had this distinction: Nevada, Tennessee and Utah.
  • The following states saw a statistically significant narrowing of average score gaps between black and white students from 2009 to 2015: Arkansas (a decline of 10 points), Oklahoma (8.9) and Tennessee (8.6) at grade four; and Illinois (7.8) at grade eight.

Stephaan Harris