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Texas students boost scores on national science test

Results released Thursday from a national science test show Texas students scoring higher than they have in past years, and higher than the national average.

Texas Education Agency Commissioner Mike Morath testifies on school board issues before the Senate Committee on Education August 16, 2016.

Texas fourth and eighth graders improved their test scores on a national science test in 2015 compared to 2009, beating the national average, according to results posted Thursday. 

Students took the National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP) science test between January and March 2015, in the areas of physical science; Earth and space sciences; and life science. The test was last administered for fourth graders in 2009 and for eighth graders in 2011.

“The strong performance of our students on this national assessment is a reflection of effective teaching and rigorous curriculum seen on Texas campuses every school day,” state Commissioner of Education Mike Morath said in a news release Thursday.

The score gap between black and white fourth graders stayed the same between 2009 and 2015, with white students continuing to score 29 points higher. That gap also was steady for eighth graders, with white students scoring 32 points higher than black students in 2015. 

White fourth graders in Texas scored an average of 27 points higher than Hispanic students in 2015, compared to 31 points higher in 2009. For eighth graders, that gap narrowed, with white students in Texas scoring 24 points higher on average than Hispanic students in 2015 and 26 points higher in 2009.

This year, 39 percent of Texas fourth graders scored at or above proficient, compared to 37 percent of national fourth graders. That percentage gap is not significant, according to the NAEP analysis.

The NAEP analysis shows Texas eighth-graders performed significantly better than the national average, with 37 percent at or above proficient, compared to 33 percent nationally.

Read more about state and national student testing here:

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