New Math Scores Released
Special Report - October 22, 2009
North Carolina’s fourth and eighth grade students scored slightly higher than the national average in mathematics on the National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP) test, according to the results released October 14 by the U.S. Department of Education. Known as the “Nation’s Report Card,” the NAEP is a national test that measures student proficiency in a variety of subjects, including math, reading and writing. The NAEP math assessment tests students in five categories (number properties and operations; measurement; geometry; data analysis/statistics; and probability and algebra). According to the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction, the NAEP test was administered to 4,416 fourth graders from 190 schools and to 4,440 eighth graders at 153 schools in 2009.
Fourth graders in North Carolina scored an average of 244 in 2009, compared to the national average of 239. North Carolina’s score was higher than 29 other states/jurisdictions but not “significantly different from 18 other states,” according to DPI. Eighth grade students in the state scored an average of 284 in 2009, two points higher than the national average of 282. According to DPI, North Carolina’s score for eighth graders was higher than 19 other states, but no different from 18 other states, and lower than 14 states.
The NAEP also groups students according to three levels of proficiency in math: basic, proficient and advanced. While 50 percent of North Carolina’s fourth graders were below NAEP’s basic level in 1992, only 13 percent were in the below basic category in 2009. In addition, 87 percent of fourth graders in the state were at basic or better in 2009, compared to 50 percent in 1992. Among eighth graders, 26 percent were below basic level in 2009, and 74 percent were at the basic level or above in 2009. According to DPI, NAEP’s basic or above level is similar to North Carolina’s proficiency level on the state’s end-of-grade tests. In 2009, 72 percent of North Carolina’s students scored “proficient” in math on the state’s end-of-grade tests for grades three to eight.
“NAEP allows us to see how our students' performance on these national exams compares with other states' students,” said State Superintendent June Atkinson in a DPI press release. “We can see significant improvements over time, but there also are persistent gaps in achievement that all the states need to address.”
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