On Science Exams, New York’s Students Fall Short

Fernanda Santos:

Only 18 percent of the city’s public school fourth graders and 13 percent of its eighth graders demonstrated proficiency on the most recent national science exams, far below state and national achievement levels, according to results released Thursday.
Alan J. Friedman, a member of the National Assessment Governing Board, the bipartisan group that oversees the tests, called the city’s results “a big disappointment,” particularly because New York has a number of cultural organizations devoted to science, like the Museum of Natural History and the New York Hall of Science in Queens, which he directed for 22 years.
The exam was given in 2009 to a sampling of 4,300 fourth and eighth graders in the city, or about 3 percent of students in those grades. Nationwide, 33 percent of fourth graders and 29 percent of eighth graders showed proficiency, and in New York State, those numbers were 30 and 31, respectively.