Illinois NAEP Science Results Parallel National Performance


November 20, 2001 

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SPRINGFIELD - Illinois students are performing at about the national average in science, according to the results of a nationwide test released today.


For the most part, the science scores earned by Illinois students on the 2000 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) were on par with the national averages.


The test results show that 31 percent of Illinois grade 4 students - as opposed to 27 percent nationwide - scored at or above “proficient” on the 2000 assessment.  For grade 8, 29 percent of Illinois students reached that mark, compared to 30 percent of the national sample.


A representative sample of Illinois students took the test.  Because of the structure of the sample, there are no results at the district, school or individual level.


The scores demonstrated the need to effectively address the achievement gaps that separate groups of students.  Among Illinois grade 4 students, “proficient” scores or better went to 46 percent of white students, 6 percent of black students and 10 percent of Hispanic students.  The trend continues in grade 8, with 44 percent of white students, 5 percent of black students and 12 percent of Hispanic student at or above the “proficient” level.


State Superintendent Glenn W. McGee and the members of the Illinois State Board of Education have made one of the state’s top educational priorities to close the achievement gaps that divide the performance of minority students or impoverished students from that of their peers.


“The schools, communities, parents and students of Illinois must help close the gap that separates student achievement from student potential,” said McGee.  “Every student in Illinois - regardless of their background or wealth - deserves a high-quality education that meets clear state Standards.”


National NAEP results indicated no significant change since 1996 in the students’ average scores for grades 4 and 8 and a significant decline in grade 12.


For more information on the National Assessment of Educational Progress, visit  The site includes a data tool that allows online users to analyze score data by various demographic factors, compare results across jurisdictions and view data from other NAEP assessments.