Few Students Reaching Highest Levels in Math, Science

By Bonnie Ho — May 12, 2010 1 min read

Excellence in math and science is often cited as the driving force behind U.S. innovation and competitiveness in the 21st century global economy. Yet, an EPE Research Center analysis of data from the 2005 National Assessment of Educational Progress shows that few students are reaching the highest levels of achievement in these critical subjects. Six percent of 8th graders qualified as “Advanced” (NAEP’s highest achievement level), compared with just three percent in science. Overall, 72 percent of students failed to reach proficiency in math, while about the same proportion (73 percent) fell short of that mark in science. Considerably more students fell into NAEP’s lowest, “Below Basic,” performance category in science (43 percent) than was the case for mathematics (32 percent). Technology Counts 2008 found that achievement in math has improved steadily over the past decade, while performance has largely stagnated in science.

For more information about student achievement scores and other state-by-state data, search EPE’s Education Counts database.

SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences, National Center for Education Statistics, National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), 2005 Math and Science Assessments.