This morning, the Arkansas Department of Education released the National Assessment of Educational Progress data, which is also known as the "Nation's Report Card." The report shows data gathered from standardized tests in physical science, life science and earth and space sciences that were taken by fourth and eighth grade students in 2009.
In the fourth grade, 29 percent of Arkansas students scored proficient and above with an average score of 146, while 32 percent of public school students nationally scored proficient or above with an average score of 149. The top score on both exams was 300, and proficiency indicates solid academic performance and competency over challenging subject matter.
In the eighth grade, 24 percent of Arkansas students scored proficient or above with an average score of 144, while nationally 29 percent of public school students scored proficient or above with an average score of 149...
While gaps exist among subpopulations of students, the gaps between Hispanic and white students in Arkansas were smaller at both fourth and eighth grades than they were for those subgroups nationally. The gaps between the state’s white and black students, however, were larger at both grade levels than they were nationally.
Education Commissioner Tom Kimbrell said work was needed. "I’m particularly concerned with the disparity in performance based on race. While we know the Common Core State Standards in English Language Arts will help strengthen reading in the content area of science, we clearly need to focus attention on increasing the learning across both life and physical science in grades K-12."