The performance gap between white and minority students in Oklahoma is narrowing in science, according to testing results released Thursday from the Oklahoma Department of Education. Black and Hispanic students made gains in in fourth and eighth grade science - one of several subjects assessed in the "Nation's Report Card."
"While we have narrowed performance gaps, I am confident we can do better in our overall scores," said Superintendent of Schools Joy Hofmeister.
The National Assessment of Education Progress released the results called The Nation's Report Card that tests student performance in math, science, reading, technology and engineering literacy, U.S. History, vocabulary, civics and geography, its website states.
In fourth-grade science, black students had the second-largest gain in the country, behind only Tennessee. The white-black performance gap decreased nine points from 32 in 2009 to 23 in 2015, the release states.
In eighth-grade science, the white-Hispanic performance gap decreased 8 points, from 28 in 2009 to 20 in 2015. That's the third-largest gain in the country behind only Utah and South Carolina.
Overall eighth-grade performance in science was up from 146 to 151 - but still below the national average of 153.
Hofmeister said the results indicate the state is moving in the right direction and reflect the hard work of science educators - plus a shift in teaching standards that emphasize critical thinking and problem solving.
“In Oklahoma, there has been a shift in the way science is taught, and educators are putting in extra hours to make a difference in student outcomes," she said.
"We are improving science education in Oklahoma thanks to dedicated teachers and businesses who are prioritizing and supporting STEM education in their communities.”
Compared to the rest of the nation, 20 states have higher average scores overall, 17 are about the same and 9 have lower average scores. Five states did not participate in the testing.
See full results at Nation's Report Card website.