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NAEP Science and Technological Design 2009

April 12, 2011

The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) Science 2009 results were released in January 2011. The assessment, administered by the National Center for Education Statistics, was given to 156,500 4th-graders, 151,100 8th-graders, and 11,100 12th-graders. Assessment questions measured students' knowledge and abilities in physical science, life science, and Earth and space sciences.

The results -- known as The Nation's Report Card -- show that only 34% of 4th-graders, 30% of 8th-graders, and 21% of 12th-graders perform at or above the Proficient level in science, meaning that less than one-half of students demonstrate solid academic performance and competency over challenging subject matter.

"These results shed light on the critical need to ensure that all students have a strong foundation in science," said David Driscoll, chairman of the National Assessment Governing Board. "Science helps students further their understanding of our world, enabling them to connect ideas across disciplines and making them better problem solvers."

The NCTL was instrumental in redesigning the NAEP Science 2009 framework to include, for the first time, technological (engineering) design as one of four science practices or skills to be assessed. This is a milestone in measuring student technological literacy and advancing K-12 engineering education. The other science practices measured include identifying and using science principles, and using scientific inquiry.

Student performance on the Technological Design test is also disappointing. We need to do better at giving teachers tools and training to engage students in the engineering design and problem solving process, as well as science content and skills.

Two other initiatives that will help advance K-12 engineering are the development of the NAEP Technology & Engineering Literacy Framework in 2014 and the formation of the Next Generation Science Standards that will include engineering design as a skill set. The NCTL is involved in both these efforts.

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The Museum of Science, Boston

  1 Science Park, Boston, MA 02114  phone: 617-723-2500   information@mos.org