Good news and bad news for the Buckeye State. The bad news first: in the recently-released “The Nation’s Report Card” for eighth grade science scores, Ohio fell eight spots in the state rankings. The good news: despite the drop, Ohio continued to outperform the national average in science scores.

Issued by the U.S. Department of Education, the Report Card publishes National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) results and provides inter-state and year-to-year comparisons of student performance. Nationally, the results were encouraging as scores trended upwards and achievement gaps narrowed. (My colleague Daniela Fairchild reviews the national data here.)

Ohio’s 2011 average science test score remained flat compared to 2009, causing the Buckeye State to fall behind states whose test scores improved. However, Ohio still bests the national test average by seven points, and its average test scores also remain near the top among the states—fifteenth out of fifty. Additionally, Ohio continues to outperform the national percentage of students scoring “above proficient” and “above basic.”

These science scores are critical, for they predict our nation’s ability to meet the demands of the future marketplace. Ohio’s future, therefore, rests on how well it equips today’s kids with the scientific tools for tomorrow’s needs. Ohio’s mixed NAEP results—still a national leader in science scores but with a flat-line performance trend—should motivate the Buckeye State to continue its aggressive investment in kids’ science education. By investing in science, Ohio can plant the seeds for its economic future, today.

The Nation’s Report Card: Science 2011
U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences
May 2012

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