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New Hampshire’s Fourth and Eighth Grade Students at or Near the Top In Science According to the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP)


The release of grades 4 and 8 Science results for the 2009 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) demonstrate that New Hampshire students perform well above the national average and are grouped with the top performing states throughout the nation. Using an updated assessment framework in the areas of Physical, Life and Earth, and Space Sciences, the 2009 NAEP Science assessment sampled 156,500 fourth-graders and 151,100 eight-graders in 46 states and schools operated by the United States Department of Defense. In New Hampshire, 2,700 fourth-graders and 2,600 eight-graders were selected to participate in the NAEP Science assessment. For both grades, the scales scores were set ranging from 0 to 300 and with a mean or average score set at 150. With respect to achievement levels for the assessment, the Basic level denotes partial mastery of the knowledge and skills fundamental for proficient work at each grade level. The NAEP Proficient level represents solid academic performance with a demonstration of competency of challenging subject matter.

The NAEP 2009 Science results for Grade 4 public school students puts New Hampshire at the top (see Table 1) along with Virginia, North Dakota, Kentucky, and Massachusetts (see The Nation’s Report Card - Grade 4) while outperforming 42 other states/jurisdictions. For Grade 8 students, only North Dakota achieved results significantly higher than New Hampshire (see The Nation’s Report Card - Grade 8). The average scale score for New Hampshire grade 4 students was 163. For grade 8, the average scale score was 160. This compared to the National Public School average of 149 for both grades (see Table 1 and Table 15).

In a comparison of subgroups, there was no significant difference in the performance between New Hampshire 4th grade males and females (see Table 2 and Table 3); but there was a seven point separation favoring 8th grade males for the NAEP Science assessment (see Table 16 and Table 17). With respect to Race/Ethnicity, Asian/Pacific Islander 4th grade New Hampshire students outperformed both White and Hispanic students (see Table 4, Table 5, and Table 6). The average scale score achievement gap between White and Hispanic 4th grade students in New Hampshire was 26 points - 165 versus 139, which was smaller than the national average of 32 points - 162 versus 130 (see Table 4 and Table 5). For 8th grade New Hampshire students, however, the achievement gap between White and Hispanic students was the same as the national average of 30 points - 161 versus 131 (see Table 18 and Table 19). White 4th grade students in New Hampshire scored 3 points higher than the National Public School average (see Table 4) while White 8th grade students in New Hampshire had an average scale score that was equivalent to the National Public School average for White students in America (see Table 18).

Looking at the Socio-Economic status of students, New Hampshire students that were eligible for Free or Reduced School Lunch scored considerably below New Hampshire students that were not eligible (see Table 7, Table 8, Table 20, and Table 21), but the achievement gap was not as extreme as found with the National Public School averages for both grades. For White New Hampshire students, the achievement gaps were close to or equivalent to the National Public School averages (see Table 9, Table 10, Table 22, and Table 23).

New Hampshire students that were identified as having a disability scored near the top in comparison to students from participating states and jurisdictions that were identified as having a disability (see Table 11 and Table 24). Likewise, New Hampshire students that were not identified as having a disability also scored at or near the top in comparison to students from participating states and jurisdictions that were not identified as having a disability (see Table 12 and Table 25). Finally, New Hampshire 4th grade English Language Learners (ELL) scored near the top - 22 points higher than the National Public School average for ELL students (see Table 13).

The National Assessment of Educational Progress is also commonly known as “the Nation’s Report Card,” and is conducted at both the state and the national level. This assessment has been focusing on
what America’s students know and are capable of doing in various subject areas since 1969. In 2005, NAEP also assessed New Hampshire students in Science, but since the NAEP Science framework was updated and revised for 2009, trend comparisons with respect to achievement data could not be performed with previous NAEP Science results.

All tables and more information on New Hampshire’s NAEP results, can be found on our Web site at http://www.education.nh.gov/instruction/assessment/naep/ or contact Tim Eccleston, New Hampshire’s NAEP State Coordinator at (603) 271-2298 or Timothy.Eccleston@doe.nh.gov. For a complete set of national NAEP results, visit www.nces.ed.gov/nationsreportcard.


New Hampshire Department of Education
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Telephone: (603) 271-3494 | TDD Access: Relay NH 711