New Jersey’s Fourth And Eighth Graders Among Nation’s Leaders In Math

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TRENTON—Scores for New Jersey eighth graders on the 2009 National Assessment for Educational Progress mathematics test are among the best in the country and have improved significantly since 2007, Education Commissioner Lucille Davy announced Wednesday.

According to The Nation’s Report Card: Mathematics, 2009 issued by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES),  only students from Massachusetts and Minnesota scored better on the eighth grade test. New Jersey fourth graders continue to score higher on the NAEP math test than students in all but three other states, the report noted.  The average math score of fourth graders in New Jersey was 247, while the average score for public school students across the nation was 239.

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“We have a responsibility to prepare our students to succeed in the competitive world economy of the 21st century,” said Education Commissioner Lucille E. Davy.  “The NAEP tests are the only exams that allow national state-to-state comparisons, and it’s clear that New Jersey students are responding to our school districts’ focus on math and science.”

Davy noted that New Jersey students with disabilities showed particular improvement on the eighth grade math test; the average score for those students increased from 251 in 2007 to 259 in 2009.  The national average grade eight math score for students with disabilities was 249 in 2009.

The NAEP tests in various subjects – including math, reading, writing and science – are administered nationally on a rotating basis to a representative sample of fourth and eighth grade public students in the 50 states, the District of Columbia and the Department of Defense schools.

This year, 168,800 fourth graders and 161,700 eighth grade students across the country took the math test.  The NAEP math score scale ranges from 0 to 500.
New Jersey students have a history of strong performances on the NAEP  tests.  In the 2007 New Jersey eighth graders were the best writers in the nation for their grade level, and fourth graders trailed only Massachusetts in reading scores.

An NCES report issued in July indicated that New Jersey has made significant gains in closing the achievement gap between white and black students in fourth grade reading from 1994 to 2007; the gap dropped from 40 points in 1994 to 33 points in 2005, and to 26 points in 2007.

“We remain focused on similar closure of the achievement gap in mathematics,” said Davy.  “This is a national issue, and in New Jersey, we are working with districts to improve math instruction and provide additional training and teacher resources.”

The report card can be viewed at http://www.nationsreportcard.gov/.


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