Friday, January 28, 2011

Superintendent Barresi Says Dismal NAEP Results Are a Call to Action

“The Nation’s Report Card” Shows Only One-Fourth of Oklahoma Students Are Proficient in Science

New results from the 2009 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) released today show most Oklahoma students are not proficient in science. Seventy- two percent of Oklahoma fourth-graders taking the test and 75 percent of eighth-graders taking the test fell below “proficient” - meaning they scored at “basic” or “below basic.”

Dr. Janet Barresi
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Janet Barresi said the scores come just as Oklahoma students are entering a new testing period for NAEP, beginning this week and running until March 4. Barresi urged the more than 300 Oklahoma schools selected for NAEP testing to ensure that teachers and parents understand the critical importance of the exams.

“Oklahoma‟s economic future and the success of our young people depend on our ability to produce students who are ready for the demands of the 21st century marketplace,” said Barresi. “It‟s not enough now to just say „we‟re doing okay.‟ Mediocre doesn‟t cut it anymore. These results are a dash of cold water and should jolt us into action.”

The science assessment is administered to a sample of students from each state by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), which is an arm of the U.S. Department of Education. NAEP measures students‟ knowledge and abilities in the areas of physical science, life science, and Earth and space sciences. Only 28 percent of Oklahoma fourth-graders scored at “proficient” or “advanced,” while only 24 percent of eighth-graders scored at the same levels. In each case, Oklahoma scored four percentage points below the national average.

“States that pass reforms to boost math, reading and science proficiency will be the states that lead and the states that stand to benefit in the new knowledge economy,” said Barresi. “If Oklahoma is not prepared to compete in the areas of science, technology, engineering and math, then we will lose out in this century and our children will fall further behind.”

“Governor Fallin is focused on creating a vibrant economic environment through job creation,” continued Barresi. “She and I both agree that the way we sustain a positive trajectory is through assuring we have a well-educated workforce.”

Nationally, less than one-third of U.S. elementary- and high-school students have a solid grasp of science, according to the NAEP scores. The Nation‟s Report Card: Science 2009 Grades 4, 8, and 12 is available at More materials are at

NCES previously released 2009 NAEP scores in reading and mathematics for the state and nation. Those results also indicated Oklahoma students are trailing their peers nationally and reflected low proficiency rates.
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