2011 science results from the National Assessment of Educational Progress are in, and the good news is that scores went up. The bad news is that the gains were minimal. Eighth graders from the nation's public schools scored an average of 152 points out of a possible 300 on the science test. The average in 2009 was 150, so the new results do show an overall improvement—just not a big one.
"Today's results offer encouraging signs that our nation's eighth graders are improving in science education," U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said in an official state posted on ED.gov.
Critics, meanwhile, were less optimistic.
"Overall, the results show miniscule gains in student achievement," Gerry Wheeler, interim executive director at the National Science Teachers Association, said in a statement released by the organization. "The majority of our eighth-grade students still fall below the proficiency level and only 16 of the 47 states that participated had higher science scores than in 2009."
122,000 students from all 50 states and the District of Columbia took the test, which also showed improvements for students who engaged in monthly or weekly hands-on, science-related activities.