Nevada eighth graders received the “Star State” national recognition for science progress from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) in its annual 2015 National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP) report, known as the Nation’s Report Card. NCES today released the fourth and eighth grade science results for Nevada.

Utah, Tennessee and Nevada received “Star State” status because their average eighth grade science scores had greater score gains than the rest of the nation since 2009.

“Our eighth graders’ average score gain was larger than the Nation’s by four points,” said Steve Canavero, Ph.D., Nevada Superintendent of Public Instruction. “This is an excellent indicator that more of our students are prepared for high school and that Nevada is on track to become the fastest improving state in the nation in education.”

The average score for Nevada eighth grade students is 149 and this is a significant increase of eight points from 2009. By comparison, the Nation’s average score is 153 and this is an increase of four points from 2009. While Nevada still falls below the average score, the state’s growth was more than double the national average.

Among eighth graders, there is a six to nine point gain in average score at each student ability level in Nevada. White and Latino students both show progress with an average score nine points higher from 2009. There is an eight point gain in average score for male students and a six point gain for female students for a gender gap of three points. The percentage of Nevada eighth grade students at or above proficient is 27 percent and this is a significant change from 2009 of seven percentage points. The Nation’s percentage of students at or above proficient is 33 percent and this is a change from 2009 of four percentage points.

NAEP tests a representative sample of Nevada students from fourth and eighth grades. Students are selected randomly and answer different sets of science questions. There are 2,200 fourth grade students and 2,300 eighth grade students in the Nevada sample.

The growth seen by Nevada’s eighth graders was not replicated in fourth grade. While Nevada fourth grade performance remained flat at 142, the rest of the nation grew by four points from 2009 to 153. Nevada did see significant increases for certain fourth grade subgroup populations.

“I am encouraged that our fourth grade Hispanic students show progress with an average score six points higher from 2009 to narrow the gap with white students,” Canavero said. “The 2015 Nevada Legislature appropriated $50 million for Gov. Sandoval’s Zoom schools initiative to provide additional instruction for English Learners and it appears those investments are paying off.”

NAEP is governed by the National Assessment Governing Board (NAGB) and is conducted by the NCES, which is part of the U.S. Department of Education. More information about 2015 NAEP Science results can be found at