Most Students in Big Cities Lag Badly in Basic Science

Diana Jean Schemo:

A least half of eighth graders tested in science failed to demonstrate even a basic understanding of it in 9 of 10 major cities, and fourth graders, the only other group tested, fared little better, according to results released here Wednesday.
The outcome of those tests, part of the National Assessment of Educational Progress, often called the nation’s report card, showed that student performance in urban public schools was not only poor but also far short of science scores in the nation as a whole.
Half or a little more of the eighth-grade students in Charlotte, San Diego and Boston lacked a basic grasp of science. In six of the other cities — New York, Houston, Chicago, Cleveland, Los Angeles and Atlanta — the share of eighth graders without that knowledge was even higher, ranging from about three-fifths in New York to about four-fifths in Atlanta. Only in Austin, Tex., did a majority of eighth graders — and only barely there — have a basic understanding.
By comparison, the number of eighth graders who lacked a basic grasp in the nation as a whole was 43 percent.