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Friday
Feb252011

Nation's Report Card: Urban Students Lag in Science

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Public school students in the nation's largest cities lag behind their peers across the country in science, according to a new “Nation’s Report Card” released Thursday. The 2009 National Assessment of Educational Progress in Science found that 44 percent of fourth-graders and 56 percent of eighth-graders at schools in large cities (with populations of 250,000 or more) are below basic proficiency in science.
 
"The results released today show that students in our cities are further behind in science than in reading and mathematics,” Education Secretary Arne Duncan said Thursday in a written statement. “These results show that large city districts aren't preparing enough students to succeed in the knowledge economy.”
 
Of the 17 urban school districts that participated in the study, most scored lower than the national average for public school students.
 
Science scores for fourth-graders in 14 of the 17 districts were lower than the national score; only Austin, Charlotte, and Louisville had scores that were not significantly different from the national average.
 
At grade 8, 16 districts were lower than the national average; only Austin had a score that was not significantly different from the national score.
 
The 17 districts that participated showed a wide range of knowledge. In grade 4, for example, the percentages of students performing at or above the basic level ranged from 26 percent in Detroit to 70 percent in Charlotte and Louisville.
 
The demographics of the districts also varied significantly from the national average. In general, large cities often had higher percentages of English language learners. The percentage of students from lower-income families in urban areas ranged anywhere from 47 to 100 percent.

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