Fourth and eighth graders in the United States are generally doing better in science, according to the National Assessment of Educational Progress, or NAEP. The data, released Thursday, showed scores for high school seniors were flat.
In Georgia, fourth and eighth graders scored slightly below the national average in 2015. But Bill Bushaw, executive director of the National Assessment Governing Board, says it’s not all about raw scores.
“What we’re looking for, and what we actually saw in this assessment, is growth, is progress,” Bushaw said.
Since 2009, Georgia fourth graders’ scores improved an average of eight points on a 300-point scale. Eighth graders made smaller, but noticeable, gains, with an average increase of two points.
U.S. Education Secretary John B. King said his department is working to move U.S. students from the middle to the top of the pack internationally in science and math achievement.
“We’re on track to meet the president’s goal of recruiting and developing 100,000 new STEM [Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math] teachers by 2021,” King said.
The Georgia Department of Education has also offered incentives for STEM teachers, and it offers STEM certification for schools willing to submit to a rigorous application process.
Additionally, Georgia adopted new science standards last spring. Teachers are training on the new standards this year, and will start teaching them in the fall of 2017.