Failing Science

The Patriot News has a story on the Pennsylvania Department of Education’s news release that almost two-thirds of Pennsylvania’s 11th grade students are not proficient in science.  The story also mentions US students falling behind international peers in science achievement.  They also touch on the disturbing trend that the more time kids spend in school, the farther behind they fall.

The data for the state and for individual school districts is available here.

One comment on the results attempts to blame “too much of an emphasis on reading and math.”  But this nonsense is undermined by the fact that almost half of high juniors aren’t proficient on math and one-third don’t make the grade in reading.  Furthermore, the state tests severely inflate the number of students proficient in reading and math (no comparison as yet for science), as compared to the national standard, the NAEP.  On the latter test, over 60% of Pennsylvania eighth grade students fail to make proficiency in both reading and math.

The Commonwealth Foundation has a recent analysis offering a “real report card” by converting local school’s results on state state test to the national standard.  The results should be discouraging.