US student performance in science
A review of the four major science assessments
The purpose of this research is to review the nature of four major science assessments administered in the United States: the ACT, PISA, TIMSS, and NAEP. Each assessment provides a very different view into US student performance in science. The TIMSS and PISA are international assessments of student performance and are often cited as evidence that US students are underperforming in comparison to their international peers. The NAEP is used to assess student knowledge of science across multiple age ranges in the United States. Finally, the ACT is administered to college-bound students who elect to take the exam. The underlying philosophies and basic structures of each assessment are explored, and comparisons and contrasts between the assessments are drawn. Historical student performance on each assessment is also analyzed. Analysis of these assessments suggests that US students struggle to apply scientific skills at the high school level, while US middle and elementary students understand scientific content knowledge well.