South Carolina fourth-graders were on par with their peers across the country on a science test, and Georgia eighth-graders were not far off from the national average, according to National Assessment for Educational Progress results released Tuesday.
Yet South Carolina eighth-graders scored below the national average, as did Georgia fourth-graders.
These results were for tests taken by samples of students in most states and across the nation in 2009 in fourth-, eighth- and 12th-grade science. State results were only available for fourth and eighth grades, and no district- or school-level results are available.
The fourth-grade national average score, on a scale of 300 points, was 149. South Carolina's average also was 149, while Georgia's was 144, which was considered significantly lower than the national average.
The eighth-grade national average also was 149. Georgia's average was 147, which was not considered significantly different from the national score, while South Carolina's was 143, which was considered significantly lower.
South Carolina State Superintendent of Education Mick Zais said these results, particularly those in eighth grade, should be a wake-up call for the state's schools.
"Many occupations in tomorrow's workforce will require strong science and math skills, and average performance won't be good enough for our students to compete in the global workplace," Zais said in a news release. He noted that employment projections by the U.S. Department of Labor show that of the 20 fastest-growing occupations projected for 2014, 15 will require students to have solid science or math skills.
Because the test was updated in 2009 to keep the content current with key developments in science, curriculum standards, assessments and research, these results cannot be compared to those from previous years, according to the National Center for Education Statistics, but they can be used as a snapshot of what the nation's students know in science, as well as serving as a basis for comparisons on future NAEP science tests.
For more 2009 NAEP science results, go to http://nces.ed.gov/nationsreportcard.