Nation’s Report Card Reveals New York Students Lagging in Science
For Immediate Release: Thursday, May 10, 2012
Contact: B. Jason Brooks, Director of Research and Communications
In the same week that President Barack Obama came to New York to tout the state’s scientific research sector as an example of promising innovation and job creation, the U.S. Department of Education released a report revealing that well over two-thirds (71 percent) of the state’s students are entering high school below grade level in science.
Results on the Nation’s Report Card in Science released today by the U.S. Department of Education reveal “New York falling behind the nation in science and results getting worse instead of improving,” according to B. Jason Brooks, Director of Research for the Albany-based Foundation for Education Reform & Accountability.
New York’s 8th-grade proficiency rate based on the 2011 national science exam is only 29 percent, ranking 35th in the nation, and has fallen to a level below national average (31 percent). On the 2009 exam, New York ranked 25th in the nation and had a proficiency rate of 31 percent, 1 point above the national average. The results are based on the National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP) science exam administered to eighth grade students in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
According to Brooks, “If New York wants to fulfill the promise that it’s future in scientific research offers in careers for the young people of the state, as well as benefit from the potential economic engine it will provide, the state needs a top-to-bottom reform in science education.”
Potential solutions that the state can make to help improve New York’s lackluster science results include:
- improving New York’s science learning standards to make them more rigorous;
- improving the assessment system to measure if students are learning or not by expanding the state’s current 4th and 8th grade science exams to cover all grades in 3-8 (the same grades assessed annually in math and English language arts); and,
- making state’s existing science exams far more rigorous, which an overwhelming majority (74 percent in 2011) of students easily pass, giving students and families a false sense of academic preparedness in the sciences.
The Foundation for Education Reform & Accountability (FERA) is an independent, nonprofit, research organization dedicated to improving education in New York State by promoting accountability, stimulating innovation, and supporting school-choice efforts across the state.