A comparison of eighth-grade student test scores from the U.S. and international educational systems shows Missouri students ranking above average in math and science, according to the results of a new study by the National Center for Educational Statistics (NCES).
Results from the 2011 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) and the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) were used as a basis for the study.
Missouri eighth graders scored 512 in math, above the average TIMSS score of 500. The students scored 537 in science, above the TIMSS average and the U.S. average of 522.
Scores are reported in four categories: low, intermediate, high and advanced. In math testing, 31 percent of Missouri students scored at the high and advanced levels. The scores for science showed 45 percent of eighth graders at high and advanced levels.
NCES initiated this study in an effort to link the NAEP scale to the TIMSS scale so that states could compare the performance of their students with that of students in other countries. Missouri placed in the mid-range of participating states and nations.
Scoring was based on NAEP results for 2011, which were used to predict performance on TIMSS testing.
Three statistical methods were applied in linking the NAEP and TIMSS scales and showed the predictions to be accurate. TIMSS also performed random testing in nine states to validate predictions. Missouri was not selected as one of the nine states.
Differences between the NAEP and TIMSS administrations, assessment contents and program policies could contribute to the sources of error around predicted TIMSS scores. While predicted TIMSS scores should not be interpreted as actual scores, they provide states with a framework for global comparison.
NAEP is just one of the measures Missouri uses in its Top 10 by 20 initiative, which calls for Missouri to rank in the top 10 states for education by 2020 and help students graduate ready for college and career.
More information on the study is available at http://nces.ed.gov/nationsreportcard/mathematics/
State comparisons can be found at http://nces.ed.gov/nationsreportcard/studies/naep_timss.