DODEA students rank near top in nation’s science report card

Education
Mordecai Kenemore, a fifth-grade student at Kaiserslautern Elementary School, celebrates after his team's robot successfully completes a maneuver during a DODEA-Europe robotics competition for 10- to 14-year-old students in Kaiserslautern, Germany, on Monday, March 28, 2016.  Michael B. Keller/Stars and Stripes
From Stripes.com
Mordecai Kenemore, a fifth-grade student at Kaiserslautern Elementary School, celebrates after his team's robot successfully completes a maneuver during a DODEA-Europe robotics competition for 10- to 14-year-old students in Kaiserslautern, Germany, on Monday, March 28, 2016. Michael B. Keller/Stars and Stripes

DODEA students rank near top in nation’s science report card

by: Jennifer H. Svan | .
Stars and Stripes | .
published: October 28, 2016

KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany — If the “nation’s report card” is any indication, students at Defense Department schools have a better grasp of science than most of their peers in public stateside schools.

Results from the 2015 National Assessment of Educational Progress — also known as the nation’s report card — show Department of Defense Education Activity students overall performed at or near the head of the class in science.

DODEA had a greater percentage of students considered proficient in science than every other participating state except two — New Hampshire and Utah.

The average test scores for DODEA fourth- and eighth-graders — on a 0-300 scale — was 166, compared with the national average of 153, according to the NAEP test results, which were released Thursday.

The NAEP science exam, last given in 2009, provides a snapshot and continuing assessment of what the nation’s fourth-, eighth- and 12th-graders know and can do in science. The test measures knowledge in physical science, life science and earth and space sciences.

Nationally, fourth- and eighth-graders saw modest gains, improving by four points since 2009. Twelfth-grade scores did not improve.

DODEA fourth-graders had a seven-point gain, while the military’s eighth-graders saw an overall increase of four points.

State-by-state results for 12th-graders, including those from DODEA, were not provided.

The NAEP science assessment also measures how well students did compared with expectations of what they should know and be able to do at their respective grade levels.

Thirty-six percent of fourth-grade students across the nation were considered proficient in science, which means they grasp challenging subject matter. In DODEA, 49 percent of fourth-graders achieved proficiency, the second-highest in the nation after New Hampshire.

In the eighth grade, DODEA had a 44 percent proficiency, second in the nation behind Utah and above the national average of 31 percent.

Despite the ranking, according to NAEP, 49 percent of DODEA fourth graders aren’t proficient in science, as are about 54 percent of eighth-graders. That’s better, however, than the rest of the nation, where about two-thirds of students who took the test scored below proficient.

About 1 percent of students in DODEA and in the nation had scores considered advanced.

Black and Hispanic students in DODEA scored well above the national average in their respective reporting groups, for both fourth and eighth grade.

For DODEA’s black students, the average score for fourth-graders was 148, compared to 133 nationally; for eighth-graders, it was 151, above the national average of 132. DODEA’s Hispanic fourth-graders averaged 163, compared to 139 nationally; eighth-graders scored an 162 average, compared to the nation’s average of 140 for Hispanic students in the same grade.

In the fourth grade, the average score for all DODEA boys and girls was not significantly different; in eighth grade, boys had an average score that was five points higher than girls, according to NAEP.