AUGUSTA — Maine students outperformed students in most other states on the science portion of the National Assessment of Educational Progress that was administered in 2009, according to results released Tuesday.

Comparing scores across the nation, Maine’s fourth-graders tied for fifth place on the science test, and Maine’s eighth-graders tied for eighth, said David Connerty-Marin, spokesman for the Maine Department of Education.

Forty-two percent of Maine’s fourth-graders scored “proficient” or better, compared with 32 percent nationally, while 35 percent of Maine’s eighth-graders scored “proficient” or better, compared with 29 percent nationally, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.

The assessment test is the only exam that allows comparison of students’ performance across states. Five states didn’t participate.

Results for the test’s reading and math portions were released in late 2009 and early 2010, Connerty-Marin said.

Among lower-income and black students, Maine performed better than other states on the science test.

In Maine, 29 percent of fourth-graders who were eligible for free or reduced-price lunch scored “proficient” or better on the science test, compared with 16 percent nationally, Connerty-Marin said. In the same category, 22 percent of Maine’s eighth-graders scored “proficient” or better, compared with 14 percent nationally, he said.

Maine’s fourth-graders who are black had an average score that was 21 points lower than that of white students, compared with 35 points lower nationally, according to the national center. Maine’s eighth-graders who are black had an average score that was 33 percent lower than that of white students, compared with 36 points nationally, the center reported.

 

Staff Writer Kelley Bouchard can be contacted at 791-6328 or at: [email protected]