As science and technology become more important to the world, knowledge of science becomes more critical for our students. So the release of the first-ever 2005 NAEP Trial Urban District Assessment on Science is a welcome and timely development. The school districts from across the country that volunteered for the study should be saluted.
The National Assessment of Educational Progress, or NAEP, found that the achievement gaps between nearly all of the participating school districts and the nation were narrower for low-income students than for the entire student body, an encouraging development. The results complement the gains shown by 4th-graders in NAEP's National Report on Science, released in May 2006.
While urban school districts are making good progress, much work remains before all students perform at grade level. The results point to the need for states to add science assessments into accountability for NCLB for the 2007-08 school year. They also show the importance of passing President Bush's American Competitiveness Initiative, which would promote rigorous and advanced coursework in math, science and critical foreign languages. Our educators need every advantage as they work to give students the skills to succeed in the global economy.