MDE News

Latest National Science Assessment Scores show Mississippi is Closing The Gap

by May 11, 2012


Thursday, May 10, 2012

Contact: Jon Kalahar, Interim Communications Director, 601-359-3706 

Average Scores for Mississippi and Nation (public)



Jackson, Miss. – The results of the latest round of national science assessments show Mississippi students’ scores are moving up.  Mississippi gains were more than double those of the Nation as a whole, 5 points for Mississippi compared to 2 points for the Nation. While the results show that Mississippi must continue to make improvements in science instruction, they also show that we are closing the gap in terms of reaching the national average of 151.

State Superintendent Dr. Tom Burnham stated, “While we are very pleased that our Mississippi Science scores are rising and we expect our students and teachers will continue these impressive gains, we clearly recognize the challenge ahead of us. Because of the critical importance of science in a well-rounded education, our State Board of Education is planning to include the grades 5 and 8 assessments as part of Mississippi’s accountability model in 2013.”

A representative sample of Mississippi’s eighth grade students took the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) Science Assessment in the spring of 2011. NAEP, also known as the Nation’s Report Card is administered to students across the nation every two years.

In 2011, the average score for Mississippi’s eighth grade students was 137. This was a gain from Mississippi’s average score of 132 in 2009. In 2011, 18 percent of our students scored proficient and above compared to 15 percent in 2009.

The assessment design allowed for broad coverage of three science content areas:  Physical Science, Life Science, and Earth and Space Sciences. The assessment consisted of both multiple-choice and constructed-response questions. Released NAEP science questions, along with student performance data by state, are available on the NAEP website at

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