Nevada Department of EducationNevada Department of Education

    Middle School Science Performance Improves by 5.4 Percentage Points

    September 06, 2018

    CARSON CITY, Nev. – Nevada eighth grade students showed a 5.4 percentage point improvement on the 2017-18 science assessment over last year.

    “For too many years in Nevada, science was not part of our statewide assessment system,” said Steve Canavero, Ph.D., Superintendent of Public Instruction. “With a new emphasis on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) and the state’s emerging high technology sector, measuring how our kids do in science is important.”

    All Nevada students in grades 5, 8, and 10 must participate in the science assessments and results will be included in the Nevada School Performance Framework (NSPF) when it is released on on September 14. Some highlights from this year’s performance:

    • Science performance in middle school increased by 5.4 percentage points from 32.7 to 38.1 percent proficiency;
    • State charter schools lead the state in elementary school performance in 2017-18 science at 35.4 percent proficiency; however, this rate is 2 percentage points lower than their prior year performance;
    • Washoe County middle schools lead the state in 2017-18 science performance at 47.6 percent proficiency. This rate represents a 5 percentage point increase over the prior year.
    • Eureka County high schools lead the state in high performance in 2017-18 as well as leading in improvement over their 2016-17 performance at 81.9 percent proficient. This rate represents a 21.9 percentage point increase over last year for this small group of students.

    For elementary and middle schools in the NSPF, science proficiency is pooled with proficiency on the English Language Arts (ELA) and math assessments, and for high school, the science results are calculated separately.

    In 2014, Nevada adopted the Nevada Academic Content Standards for Science (NVACSS), which were based on the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), and began developing and field testing of the new assessments in the 2015-2016 school year. Spring of 2017 was the first time that students took this newly aligned science assessment, and those results were used to determine cut scores and performance levels of achievement.

    The science assessments are administered at schools once a year as a computer-based test. Paper versions of the test are available to students who require certain accommodations. For grades 5 and 8, students will respond to both multiple choice and constructed response item types (some enhanced by online technology). For high school, students will respond to multiple choice item types (some enhanced by online technology).

    For more information;


    Greg Bortolin
    Public Information Officer