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Statement by U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan on the 2011 National Assessment of Educational Progress Science Assessment, Grade 8

Statement

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Science test scores are slightly up, and the achievement gap is narrowing, and that's good news. Today's results offer encouraging signs that our nation's eighth graders are improving in science education. And for the first time, all 50 states participated in the science assessment with no states showing a decline in science scores.

While the reasons for the improvement aren't stated in the report, it's clear that we should continue the Administration's mission for every child to have access to high-quality, rigorous science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) courses. There is much work ahead if our kids are going to be competitive in the global economy. While the percentage of students performing at or above the Basic and Proficient levels in science were higher in 2011 than in 2009, when the last assessment was done, there was no significant change in the percentage of students at the Advanced level. This tells me that we need to work harder and faster to build capacity in schools and in districts across the country. We have to do things differently, that's why education reform is so critical

This Administration is committed to forging partnerships to improve the use and understanding of science and technology in our classrooms. We are calling on states to enhance teacher preparation and training, and to attract new and qualified science teachers to better engage students and reinvigorate this subject in our schools. We will continue the push to prepare 100,000 effective math and science teachers over the next decade, and support initiatives to increase pay for teachers in high-need subjects like science.


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