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Friday, February 25, 2011

Chicago 8th-graders score near bottom in national science tests

Chicago 8th-graders score near bottom in national science tests - Chicago Sun-Times
The city’s African-American eighth-grade performance on the National Assessment of Educational Progress was particularly disturbing.

CPS black eighth-graders tied their Baltimore counterparts in producing the worst African-American eighth-grade science scores among the nation’s large urban districts.

“The big effect is that these kids may have limited futures,’’ said Barbara Radner, head of DePaul University’s Center for Urban Education. “We need science for kids to go to college.’’
In eighth grade, a stunning 71 percent of CPS students scored below the most basic science level. Chicago’s eighth-grade results were subpar across virtually all racial and economic groups, except for Hispanics, whose scores were similar to those of Hispanics in other big cities.

Overall, CPS eighth-graders outscored Detroit, tied Cleveland, but fell behind peers in New York, Miami, Houston and Boston. But among African-American eighth-graders, Chicago’s science scores tied for the worst.

“As an African-American male, that make me sad and angry,’’ said Walter Taylor, a former CPS eighth-grade science teacher who now serves as a Chicago Teachers Union teacher facilitator.

Taylor noted that many heavily African-American CPS schools are on academic probation, so teachers there are pushed to emphasize reading and math over science and social studies because of the huge factor reading and math test results play in whether a school is closed. Even in science class, students may be reading about Madame Curie rather than doing experiments, Taylor said.
In elementary school I have always found science to be intimidating. While Mrs. Ellis presided over an LSC meeting they talked about creating a science resource room. Hopefully it'll be a lot more hands on than I had the luxury of during my time there.

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