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Summary
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Mathematics Results: Executive Summary for Grades 4 and 8

National Mathematics Results

Mathematics performance improved for the nation, for the majority of states, and for many student groups. Fourth-graders’ average score was 3 points higher and eighth-graders’ average score was 1 point higher in 2005 than in 2003, on a 0 to 500 point scale. The average scores increased since the first assessment year, 1990, by 25 points at grade 4 and by 16 points at grade 8. 

Between 1990 and 2005, the percentage of fourth-graders performing at or above Basic increased by 30 percentage points, from 50 to 80 percent, and the percentage performing at or above Proficient increased from 13 to 36 percent. The percentage of eighth-graders performing at or above Basic was 17 percentage points higher in 2005 (69 percent) than in 1990 (52 percent), and the percentage performing at or above Proficient increased from 15 to 30 percent.

Mathematics Results for the States

Examining the short-term trends between 2003 and 2005, when all 50 states and the District of Columbia and Department of Defense Schools were assessed, shows average scores for students at grade 4 increased in 31 states and both jurisdictions. The percentage of students performing at or above Basic increased in 23 states and the District of Columbia.

At grade 8, there were 7 states with higher average scores in 2005 than in 2003. The percentage of students performing at or above Basic increased in 5 states.

Turning to the longer trend, the first state assessment at grade 4 was given in 1992 in 42 states and jurisdictions. Each of them had a higher average score and a greater percentage of students performing at or above Basic in 2005 than in 1992.

At grade 8, there were 38 states and jurisdictions that participated in both 1990 and 2005. Each of them had a higher average score and a greater percentage of students performing at or above Basic in 2005 than in 1990.

Mathematics Results for Student Groups at Grade 4

White fourth-graders scored higher on average in mathematics than their Black and Hispanic peers in 2005. The average scores for all three of these racial/ethnic groups were higher in 2005 than in any previous assessment year. 

In 2005, students who were eligible for free or reduced-price school lunch and those who were not eligible had higher average scores in 2005 than in 1996. 

In 2005, male students scored higher on average than female students. Both male and female fourth-graders’ average scores were higher in 2005 than in any previous assessment year.

Mathematics Results for Student Groups at Grade 8

The average scores for White, Black, and Hispanic eighth-graders were higher in 2005 than in any previous assessment year.

Students who were eligible for free or reduced-price lunch and those who were not eligible scored higher on average in 2005 than in any previous assessment year when information on eligibility was collected, from 1996 through 2003.

Average scores for male and female eighth-graders were both higher in 2005 than in 1990 or in 2003.

 

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