State Scores Above Average Overall on National Science Exam; Achievement Gap Wide

Erin Richards, Journal Sentinel (Milwaukee), January 25, 2011

Wisconsin’s fourth- and eighth-grade students overall scored above average on a national science assessment in 2009, but results released Tuesday continue to show worrisome trends for African-Americans.

For black students in both grades, performance on the national science test was below average, and the achievement gap in eighth-grade science between Wisconsin’s black and white students was the highest in the nation, according to the latest results from the National Assessment of Educational Progress.

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Wisconsin’s snapshot of results from the younger grades revealed:

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* In fourth grade, black students in Wisconsin had an average score that was 43 points lower than white students in the state. By eighth grade, that performance gap widened to a 44-point difference.

* Hispanic fourth-graders in Wisconsin scored 26 points lower than their white peers in the state, better than the national average of a 32-point difference. But, by eighth grade, the performance gap of 30 points between the state’s white and Hispanic students was about the same as the national average.

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