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Delaware students lagging in science proficiency

Delaware Public Media

Delaware students are scoring lower than the national average on a countrywide science assessment test.

The National Center for Education Statistics released the test scores last week.  

“Delaware does have some challenges because we’re not seeing much movement here, except for down in grade 4,” said National Center for Education Statistics acting commissioner Peggy Carr.


The test was administered to students in 4th and 8th graders last year.  Scores for fourth graders are down from 2009. 8th grade scores have stayed flat. Overall, about a third of all students in the state are at or above the proficient level in science.


The science achievement gap between boys and girls in the First State is virtually non-existent. But, the achievement gap between white students and their minority counterparts is widening. 

“The last time we did this assessment in 2009, boys were actually scoring higher than girls. But now we’re reporting the difference has pretty much dissipated,” Carr noted. 
But, there’s a wide achievement gap between black and white students in Delaware. The average score for black students was around 30 points lower than their white counterparts.

For 8th graders in the state, that performance gap widened by five points since 2009.


Hispanic students and students receiving free or reduced lunch scored about 20 points lower.


The scores were similar to surrounding states Maryland and New Jersey. Virginia scored significantly higher than other states in the region.


Pennsylvania didn’t participate.