Press Releases

NAEP: Science Scores for TN 8th Graders Show Improvement

Press release from the Tennessee Department of Education; May 14, 2012:

NASHVILLE — Eighth-grade students in Tennessee scored higher in science than they did two years prior, according to the latest results from the National Assessment of Educational Progress, or NAEP, also known as the Nation’s Report Card.

About 28 percent of students in Tennessee scored at or above proficient in science in 2009, compared to nearly 31 percent in 2011, while the average scale score went up from 148 to 150. Tennessee ranks 32nd out of 50 states and the District of Columbia in NAEP science results.

Education commissioner Kevin Huffman said the upward trend was encouraging, since Tennessee’s new accountability model now measures science benchmarks, rather than math and reading only.

“I’m pleased with the direction our science scores are going,” Huffman said. “We certainly still have room for improvement, but we should all be proud of the gains our students are making.”

Economically disadvantaged students in Tennessee also made big gains over their 2009 scores, jumping from an average scale score of 133 in 2009 to 139 in 2011.

Emily Barton, assistant commissioner for curriculum and instruction for the Tennessee Department of Education, said the science gains show the state is headed in the right direction.

“It is critically important for our students to have a strong background in science education,” Barton said. “Through Race to the Top, we’ve invested a lot of money into Science, Technology, Engineering and Math, or STEM, so we’re glad to see our efforts paying off.”

Students in Tennessee took NAEP between January and March of 2011. A representative sample of students from schools across the state is chosen to take a portion of the test. Because the same test is administered in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, NAEP is a way to accurately compare academic progress across the nation.

For more information on NAEP scores in Tennessee and across the country, visit

For more information, contact Kelli Gauthier at (615) 532-7817 or

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