Washington 8th Graders Perform Well Internationally in Math and Science
OLYMPIA — October 24, 2013 — Washington’s 8th-grade students performed well on math and science tests compared to other states, countries and regions, according to results announced today by the Institute of Education Sciences. The results are based on the scores from two tests administered in 2011: the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) and the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS).
“I’m proud of the work we’re doing in our state,” State Superintendent Randy Dorn said. “Our results are pretty good. But I’m excited to see how our students will perform after the new, more rigorous Common Core State Standards and Next Generation Science Standards have been in place for a while. I think we’ll start seeing even better news a few years down the road.”
The NAEP tests a sample of students in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and the Department of Defense in a variety of subjects. Math and reading are tested every two years, science, every four. Schools are selected to participate in the NAEP based on their demographics in an attempt to find a sample of test takers who represent the demographics of the state as a whole.
The TIMSS tests students in 47 education systems (38 countries and nine regions) in math and science. In 2010, the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) invited Alabama, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Indiana, Massachusetts, Minnesota and North Carolina to participate in TIMSS 2011 to serve as validation states. These states were selected based on their state enrollment size, regional distribution and willingness to participate, as well as whether they performed above or below the national average on NAEP and had previous experience with TIMSS. Florida also decided to participate in TIMSS in 2011 and became the ninth validation state.
Because of the similarity of the tests, researchers were able to compare the results of the states that took the TIMSS and the NAEP, and predict TIMSS scores for the states that took only the NAEP.
Compared against other countries participating in TIMSS, including the United States, Washington state ranks eighth in math, and ninth in science. Compared to other U.S. states, Washington beats the national average, but ranks 18th in math, and 21st in science (see charts).
About the Study
NCES initiated this study in an effort to link national and international tests at grade 8 so states can compare their own students’ performance against international benchmarks in math and science. NCES linked, or “projected,” state-level scores on TIMSS in both subjects using data from NAEP.
The Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) is the primary agency charged with overseeing K–12 education in Washington state. Led by State School Superintendent Randy Dorn, OSPI works with the state’s 295 school districts and nine educational service districts to administer basic education programs and implement education reform on behalf of more than one million public school students.
OSPI provides equal access to all programs and services without discrimination based on sex, race, creed, religion, color, national origin, age, honorably discharged veteran or military status, sexual orientation, gender expression or identity, the presence of any sensory, mental, or physical disability, or the use of a trained dog guide or service animal by a person with a disability. Questions and complaints of alleged discrimination should be directed to the Equity and Civil Rights Director at (360) 725-6162 or P.O. Box 47200, Olympia, WA 98504-7200.
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The OSPI Communications Office serves as the central point of contact for local, regional and national media covering K-12 education issues.