Little change in Wisconsin’s NAEP scores

From the Department of Public Instruction

Reading and mathematics results for the 2017 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), also known as the Nation’s Report Card, remained steady in Wisconsin compared to prior years, with fourth-graders overall at the national average and eighth-graders just above the national average for both subjects. 

Average scale scores for 2017 fourth-grade reading in Wisconsin were 220, a decline that is statistically significant when compared to the 2015 average score of 223. The state’s 2017 reading results for fourth grade are statistically the same as the national average scale score of 221. For eighth-grade reading, state students had an average score of 269, which is above the national average of 265.

In mathematics, the average scale score in fourth grade was 240 for Wisconsin compared to 239 nationally. At eighth grade the average mathematics scale score was 288, which is above the national average of 282. Gaps in achievement are apparent across racial and ethnic groups and for students from low-income families, students with disabilities, and students learning English and their peers. 

“Wisconsin’s NAEP results, and those of the past decade plus, show how desperate the need is for us to work together to close opportunity gaps for our kids,” said State Superintendent Tony Evers. “As our population continues to diversify, we cannot afford to leave large numbers of our students behind their peers and expect the Wisconsin economy to continue without disruption.” 

Administered last spring to approximately 3,300 fourth-grade students and 3,100 eighth-grade students in Wisconsin public schools, NAEP is largest nationally representative and continuing assessment of what America’s students know and can do in various subject areas. Nationally, about 143,400 students were tested in grade four reading and 137,200 in grade 8. The national sample was approximately 144,000 for fourth-grade mathematics and 140,200 for eighth grade. This was the first year NAEP fully transitioned to digitally based assessments. The NAEP reading and mathematics scales range from zero to 500. 

Read more (opens pdf of complete DPI news release).

Teachers say they are overwhelmed by constant policy changes

Nearly all respondents to an Education Week survey — 86 percent — said they had experienced new changes or reforms in the past two school years, and 58 percent said the changes are “way too much” or “too much.”

The teachers surveyed were most likely to say they’d had changes to their teacher-evaluation systems. Other common areas for reform were curriculum, professional development, and state testing.

About one-third of respondents said the amount of reform was “just about right,” but most teachers (84 percent) agreed that as soon as they get a handle on a new reform, it changes.

Read entire report in Education Week:

Majority of Teachers Say Reforms Have Been ‘Too Much’

Change is hard-particularly for teachers, who are generally taking dozens of students along for the ride. Yet the majority of teachers say they’ve faced major changes-related to what and how they teach, as well as how they’re evaluated-over the last couple of years in their schools and districts, according to a recent survey by the Education Week Research Center.

Teachers’ mental health declining due to job stress, political discourse, survey finds

The growing stresses of teaching, coupled with the coarseness of the nation’s political debate, is taking a heavy toll on the mental health of teachers, according to a survey released Monday by the American Federation of Teachers and the Badass Teachers Association, a grassroots organization focused on social justice.

Well over half of the educators surveyed – 58% – said their mental health was “not good” for seven or more of the previous 30 days. That is up from 34% just two years ago.

The summary of the survey – titled “2017 Educator Quality of Work Life Survey” – says safe, welcoming, healthy schools flourish when teachers and school staff are empowered by support and respect on the job.

“Educator working conditions have a direct effect on the learning environment of our students. Teaching is a difficult job, and working conditions are a strong predictor of teacher turnover — more so than other factors like teaching in a high-poverty school,” its says.

“Studies have shown that teachers in high-poverty schools with good, supportive working conditions are likely to stay. The people who know teachers best — those who are part of their school and local communities — respect them the most. There’s a large and growing body of research that shows that community engagement and collaborative practices in schools and districts improve student outcomes. We can ensure safe, welcoming, supportive learning environments for kids when communities, parents, educators and administrators work together to build supportive working environments for teachers and school staff.

“Fostering safe, welcoming environments in schools is even more critical in our current political climate. A study released by UCLA in October 2017 shows that since January’s presidential inauguration, high school teachers across the United States are reporting more stress, anxiety and bullying among their students than before.”

Randi Weingarten, AFT president, is quoted in USA Today as saying that over the past few years, teachers have swapped one kind of stress — an intense national focus on standardized skills tests — for another, the nastiness of our political debate.

“This notion that being coarse and tough and enabling hate is OK is highly, highly, highly disruptive and problematic in schools and goes completely against what parents and teachers know is absolutely important for kids, which is a safe and welcoming environment,” Weingarten said.

Key findings of the survey include:

  • The people who know teachers the best — parents, co-workers and students — showed much more respect for teachers than elected officials and media members, many of whom rarely set foot in a classroom.
  • While educators felt most respected by their colleagues, they also indicated that their direct supervisors showed them much more respect than their school boards, the media, elected officials and U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos (86 percent of respondents did not feel respected by DeVos).
  • While the majority of educators felt they had moderate to high control over basic decisions within their classroom, their level of influence and control dropped significantly on policy decisions that directly impact their classroom, such as setting discipline policy, setting performance standards and deciding how resources are spent. This lack of voice over important instructional decisions is a tangible example of the limited respect policymakers have for educators.
  • Policies that support healthy interactions in schools are tremendously important. The survey found that educators experience workplace bullying at a much higher rate — more that three times as high — than other workers. While most educators reported that their schools have workplace harassment policies prohibiting bullying, a smaller proportion of respondents said that their schools or districts offered regular training on bullying.
  • These and other factors contribute to an unhealthy work environment. Teachers reported having poor mental health for 11 or more days per month at twice the rate of the general U.S. workforce. They also reported lower-than-recommended levels of health outcomes and sleep per night.
  • The stressful workload, the feeling of having to be “always on,” the lack of resources, and the burden of ever-changing expectations take a toll on educators, and the health problems educators face are compounded by deficient building conditions, equipment and staff shortages, and insufficient time to prepare and collaborate with colleagues.
  • Respondents overwhelmingly agreed that strong educator unions are vital.

Read the USA Today summary:

Survey: Teachers’ mental health declining amid job stress

A long list of anxieties – around school budget cuts, bullying, coarse political discourse and the shaky status of immigrant students – is taking a toll on teachers, a new survey shows, with more educators now saying their mental health is suffering than just two years earlier.

Read the entire survey report:

No Title

No Description

Wisconsin improves participation and performance on AP 

From the Department of Public Instruction

Wisconsin improved both public school student participation and performance on Advanced Placement (AP) exams administered last May.

The state had a 5.7 percent increase in participation from the prior year with 42,783 public school students taking 72,637 AP exams, an increase of 2,326 student test-takers. Nationally, nearly 2.4 million students took almost 4.3 million AP exams. The exams are scored on a scale of one through five, with scores of three or higher generally receiving college credit, advanced standing, or both at many colleges and universities. Wisconsin students had 65.9 percent of their exams scored three or higher compared to 65.5 percent in 2016. Nationally, 56.0 percent of 2017 exams were scored three or above. Disparities in achievement among student groups by race and ethnicity are apparent both in Wisconsin and nationally.

“Congratulations to all those students who demonstrated their college readiness by taking advanced coursework and succeeding on Advanced Placement exams,” said State Superintendent Tony Evers. “The AP program is a great opportunity to get a jump start on requirements or electives for technical college and university studies. We need to continue efforts to extend opportunities for rigorous coursework to all students and support their success.”

The preliminary AP results accompanied the College Board’s national release of results for SAT college and career readiness exams. Wisconsin had 1,252 public school students in the class of 2017 who took the SAT at least once during their high school career. Results for these students were considerably higher than their peers nationally. Wisconsin’s ERW (evidence-based reading and writing) score was 652, compared to a national score of 527. The mathematics score for Wisconsin 2017 graduates was 657 compared to 517 nationally. The SAT is scored on a scale of 200 to 800.

Why have they taken the fun out of kindergarten?

Kindergarten was designed as an introduction to schooling, and one that should help children discover that learning can be fun. But many believe that kindergarten has become the new first grade, and that pressure on schools to demonstrate student progress, even at the kindergarten level, has led schools to take the playfulness out of kindergarten. This week, Wisconsin Public Radio examined this issue by interviewing Christopher Brown, an associate professor of curriculum and instruction in early childhood education at the University of Texas at Austin, who says that heightened standards have pushed some teachers to forgo the emphasis on play and spend much more time on structured learning.

“Unfortunately, a lot of the research is showing that those opportunities for kids to have those times to play, those times to engage with others, are diminishing specifically to engage in academic instruction,” Brown said.

And this trend is not only exhausting for children, it has resulted in some teachers leaving the profession because they no longer feel like they can do what they love.

“They miss the opportunity to engage with kids in a more playful manner, to be able to follow kids’ interests, to be able to pursue a project that kids want to learn more about, rather than being told what to teach and when to teach it and how long to teach it,” Brown said.

Read more and listen to the podcast:

Professor: Playtime Dwindling In American Kindergarten Classrooms

Today’s kindergarten classroom is much different from even that of 20 years ago. Heightened standards have pushed some teachers to forgo the emphasis on play and spend much more time on structured learning, says Christopher Brown, an associate professor of curriculum and instruction in early childhood education at the University of Texas at Austin.

Legislative Update – June 2

Sign up for updates at

Current WEAC Action Alerts

Ask committee to oppose referendum restriction bill

Tell your legislators to make public school funding a priority in the budget

Ask your senator to protect the WRS


Latest in the Legislature
The Joint Finance Committee is expected to take up K-12 funding in the state budget next week, and there are several hearings set for stand-alone bills that impact students and public schools (see list of education-related bills below). In advance, the Legislative Fiscal Bureau released its papers on the education budget. The Committee is expected to meet next Tuesday, June 6, and Thursday, June 8.

Transportation was in the news this week, as it was announced that the transportation fund has $94 million more than was expected when the governor’s budget proposal was introduced. Instead of the estimated $8.4 million, the fund sits at $101.8 million. A hearing on elimination of the personal property tax was held Tuesday. Watch a one-minute video.

On the Issues:

Campus Speech. An Assembly committee moved ahead on an amended version of AB 299 (companion bill Senate Bill 250). The bill would require the UW System adopt a policy on freedom of expression and suspend or expel those who violate the policy twice. The amended version requires the university system to punish “violent or other disorderly conduct” that disrupts a speaker. The original version centered on boisterous or profane conduct. Republicans say the bill is needed to ensure people can listen to constitutionally protected speech from speakers on campus, no matter how controversial they may be. But others say the bill creates a safe space for racists. See details.

Financial Literacy in Schools. The Assembly Financial Institutions Committee will meet on Wednesday, June 7, to act on AB-280, which would require incorporating financial literacy into the curriculum of public schools.


  • A public hearing was held Wednesday on SB-169 (companion bill AB-247), which would allow anyone to carry a concealed weapon without a permit, background check, or training (also lowering the minimum age and opening the door for guns in schools).
  • A group of Republican legislators is circulating a bill that would create gun safety classes for high school students. Under the bill, the state superintendent would have to work with the state Department of Natural Resources or police or an organization that specializes in firearms safety or certifies firearm instructors to develop the curriculum for an elective class on gun safety. Schools would not be required to offer the course. The authors say the class would help educate students who participate in their schools’ trap and target shooting teams.

Referendum Restrictions. The first of a series of bills that restrict local control for conducting referendums, SB 187, received a public hearing this week, with some surprise changes. As amended, the measure would now require a school board to include specific financial information in a resolution and in the referendum question for all bonding /construction referenda, resulting in an impact on more districts than the original proposal. The new version spells out exactly how districts much formulate an estimate on the interest and related debt service costs – using the interest rate in effect immediately before the adoption of the resolution. Of particular note is the referendum restrictions were altered from affecting only school districts to instead include all municipalities. There are a lot of unanswered questions, given the last-minute substitute amendment, including how much cost school districts would have to incur to meet the requirements of this measure – and how many more hoops they’ll have to jump through. One thing is certain, this bill usurps local control on all levels. Contact the Senate committee members considering the bill.

Sale of Public Land for Merit Scholarships. SB 270 would call for the sale of  more than 70,000 acres of public land to the Department of Natural Resources Stewardship program to create merit scholarships for UW students and would all but gut the popular conservation fund, experts say. UW System President Ray Cross praised the move to create “Wisconsin Merit Scholarships” for state students who earn good grades and score high on standardized tests, rather than students who most need financial aid to attend college. The Stewardship program has a budget of about $33 million that would drop to $10 million a year. The bill was referred to the Senate Committee on Universities and Technical Colleges.

Self-Insurance. The Joint Finance Committee has objected to ETF’s self-insurance passive review request.  JFC has scheduled a meeting for June 13 to decide on the contracts from Gov. Scott Walker’s administration, which the JFC co-chairs said the committee will reject. The panel has issues with Walker’s savings projections and saying switching employees to self-insurance is too risky.

Special Education Funding. SB211 and companion bill AB319 call for state funding of special education at 33 percent. The fiscal estimate of the Assembly version was received Tuesday. View Senate Bill History and Assembly Bill History, along with the Senate bill fiscal estimate and some additional notes.

Sales Tax Exemption. A state legislative panel gave a favorable recommendation Thursday to a bill that would extend a sales-tax exemption to materials bought for UW System and technical college projects.

School Board Salary Refusal. A bill authorizing school board members to refuse their salaries was signed into law this week as Act 9.

Tech Ed Equipment Grants. Technical education equipment grants for school districts were taken up this week through AB-199.

Testing. Public hearings are set Wednesday, June 7, on two pupil assessment bills.

  • AB-304 requires a school board, upon request of a parent or guardian, to excuse a pupil enrolled in any grade from 3 to 12 from taking any examination required under state or federal law, except the civics test that is a requirement for high school graduation. This bill expands the current law for exemptions to apply also to grades 3, 5, 6, 7 and 12. The bill applies to independently run charter schools, opportunity schools and private voucher schools.
  • AB-300 would go into effect at the beginning of the 2017-18 school year, and require school boards each year to provide parents or guardians with a summary of examinations that the school board must administer under state and federal law and any other examinations used to assess pupil, school, or school district performance.  The bill applies to independently run charter schools, opportunity schools and private voucher schools (but in that case, only private school students who have state-subsidized tuition would receive the information).

Vouchers. A fiscal estimate was received for AB-315 (companion bill SB-227), which would give property taxpayers affected by the Racine and statewide voucher programs the final say on whether they want to be on the hook for tax dollars taken directly out of public schools to fund vouchers. The bill would require a referendum to pass before voucher schools can take state aid out of a public school district. The 2015 state budget changed state law to divert state funding to voucher schools at a rate much higher per student than public schools receive.

Coming Up:

Tuesday, June 6

  • The Joint Finance Committee is expected to meet, taking up K-12 education funding.

Wednesday, June 7

  • Public hearings on two bills (SB-300 and SB-304) regarding student testing are scheduled.
  • The Assembly Financial Institutions Committee will meet to act on AB-280, which would require the incorporation of financial literacy into the curriculum of public schools.

Thursday, June 8

  • The Joint Finance Committee is expected to meet, taking up K-12 education funding.

Tuesday, June 13

  • The Joint Finance Committee has scheduled a meeting to decide on the self-insurance contracts from Gov. Scott Walker’s administration, which the JFC co-chairs said the committee will reject.

Don’t see something in the wrap-up? Looking for more information? Contact Christina Brey.

Racine Education Association asks for audit of all standardized testing

REA President Angelina Cruz

The Racine Education Association is asking the school board to conduct an audit of testing in the district, including an inventory of all standardized tests, the purpose of the tests, time spent taking each test, and time spent on test preparation.

According to the Racine Journal Times, REA President Angelina Cruz said she would like to see the board direct the district to not only work with teachers on testing issues, but show that meaningful work is actually being done.

“Beyond the social and emotional damage high-stakes standardized tests have on children, there is also a definite fiscal impact — whether it be the costs of the tests themselves, time lost on teaching and learning, use of technology, etc. — that should be considered as well,” Cruz said.

The Journal Times also quotes REA member Theresa Jakala, a literacy teacher at Gilmore Middle School, as telling the school board: “Students take MAP in fall, winter, and spring, showing higher proficiency on their winter MAP because no other test is going on. By the time spring MAP and the Forward Exam come around students are tested out. The district needs to consider eliminating spring MAP assessments to give students a mental break for the Forward Exam.”

Read the Racine Journal Times article:

REA renews call for testing audit

RACINE – The Racine Education Association is renewing its request for a testing audit. Submitted in a letter to the Racine Unified School District Board of Education on Monday, the request is essentially identical to the one given to the board in November, and asks for an audit that should include, among other things, an inventory of all standardized tests, the purpose of the tests, time spent taking each test, and time spent on test preparation.

Rural teachers share perspectives with UW–Madison education researchers

WEAC President Ron Martin takes notes at the ‘Teacher Speakout!’ on rural schools.

WEAC members were front-and-center on a panel of public school teachers representing Wisconsin rural districts at the first-ever Teacher Speakout! at UW-Madison.

The teachers provided researchers with a first-hand look at what it’s like to live and work in rural schools.

“WEAC’s rural school educators are dedicated to bringing opportunities to their students and communities,” said WEAC President Ron Martin, an eighth grade teacher who attended the panel and talked with panelists. “Educators in rural communities know what works and what doesn’t for their students, so it’s refreshing to see attention being brought to the unique needs of these professionals.”

Seventy-seven percent of Wisconsin school districts are considered rural, yet Martin – who graduated from a rural Northern Wisconsin school – said oftentimes it’s difficult for rural educators to get their voices heard in state decisions about education. Their local and state associations help amplify their voices so they can better advocate for their students and profession.

The teacher-panelists described the ups and downs of working in a rural school – where they wear multiple hats and teach a wide span of students. They described a close connection with the community, where the school is the center of activities.

“I work with the same families for years and years,” said Duane Draper, a social studies teacher and member of the Barneveld Education Association. “I feel like I’m part of a big family.”

But the teachers also addressed the lack of funding from the state in making it difficult for districts to afford professional pay that attracts and keeps highly qualified teachers, and also barriers to professional development and mentorship when a school may only be one science or business teacher.

“We put high pride in doing well. If [another teacher] needs help, somebody’s going to be there to help them out,” said social studies teacher Paul White of the Markesan Education Association. Rural school teachers are often left to develop their own professional networks across rural districts for support and problem solving.

“Our rural teachers go above-and-beyond to get what they need to stay on top of their profession,” Martin said. “It’s one of the reasons WEAC has beefed up the WEA Academy, a place where members can go to get high-quality PD taught by Wisconsin teachers at their convenience.”

Over-testing was also a common theme, something rural teachers have in common with educators from any size school. “You have to help us. I feel like I’ve become a test prep academy,” said Sue Benzel, an English teacher and member of the Mercer Education Association. “April and May are basically gone, that’s all we do is test. I used to use test results to improve my instruction, to identify kids who need special ed. Now I feel like it’s a hidden monster out there. What are they going to do with my scores? This strange test fear has permeated our building. It’s awful.”

Teachers agreed that, as students often have to leave school as early as noon or 1 o’clock to travel to extracurricular activities, time lost to testing has a huge impact on learning and teaching. “Tell us how to use our time with the amount we’re required to eat up with testing,” Benzel said. “It’s ridiculous.”

All teacher-panelists were alumni of UW-Madison representing the districts of Barneveld, La Farge, Markesan, Mauston, Mercer, Phillips and River Valley. Other WEAC members on the panel included Marc Peterson and Barb Meyers of Philips and Yvonne Butterfield of Mauston.

The event was a first step in work around rural education by the UW–Madison Wisconsin Center for Education Research and School of Education.

Most schools and districts meet or exceed expectations on 2015-16 report cards

From the Department of Public Instruction

report_card_summaryMore than 82 percent of public schools and 91 percent of districts earned three or more stars on the state’s 2015-16 report cards, meaning they met or exceeded expectations for educating students. Another 227 schools in the state’s three private parental choice programs submitted accountability data to the Department of Public Instruction but did not have scores or ratings because report cards require more than one year of data.

The 2015-16 report cards are based on major changes that were included in Wisconsin Act 55, the 2015-17 state budget. Though they provide a snapshot of school and district performance, the 2015-16 report cards are not comparable to report cards issued in prior years and do not represent a full picture of the important work taking place in schools throughout the state. Local schools and districts will have additional information about student opportunities and performance.

Overall, 329 schools earned five- star ratings, 624 had four-stars, 635 schools earned three stars, 243 schools earned two stars, and 99 schools earned one star. Another 162 public schools achieved satisfactory progress and 22 public schools need improvement through alternate accountability. On district- level report cards, 54 districts earned five-star ratings, 187 districts earned four stars, 144 earned three stars, 33 earned two stars, and five earned one star. One district, the Norris School District with enrollment of 32 students for 2015-16, achieved satisfactory progress through the alternate accountability process.

Alternate accountability is a district supervised self-evaluation of a school’s performance on raising student achievement in English language arts and mathematics. The alternate accountability process is used for new schools, kindergarten through second-grade schools, schools without tested grades, schools exclusively serving at-risk students, and schools with fewer than 20 full academic year students who took the state test.

Accountability ratings are calculated on four priority areas: student achievement in English language arts and mathematics, student growth, closing gaps between student groups, and measures of readiness for graduation and postsecondary success, which includes graduation and attendance rates, third-grade English language arts achievement, and eighth-grade mathematics achievement. Additionally, schools and districts could have point deductions for missing targets for student engagement: test participation (95% for all students and each subgroup), absenteeism (less than 13%), and dropout rates (less than 6%). Test participation deductions were not applied to district report cards for 2015-16 because of changes in federal education law. The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) puts accountability for test participation at the school, not district, level.

The 2015-16 report cards underwent major changes that were part of Wisconsin Act 55, the 2015-17 state budget. Variable weighting was implemented to address the impact of poverty on student achievement. The higher the percentage of economically disadvantaged students in a school or district, the higher the weight that is placed on student growth scores. The method for calculating student growth changed from student growth percentiles to a value-added methodology. Additionally, the Legislature required a change from the Badger Exam offered through the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium in 2014-15 to the Forward Exam last school year. As a result of these legislated changes and because report cards rely on multiple years of data for accurate reporting, 2015-16 report cards are based on one year each of Badger and Forward exams, the 11th-grade ACT Plus Writing and Dynamic Learning Maps assessments as well as data from the Wisconsin Knowledge and Concepts Exam and Wisconsin Alternate Assessment for Students with Disabilities. Using data from three different assessments in calculations, along with other changes, makes comparisons of school and district performance to prior report card ratings inaccurate and inadvisable.

This was the first year that schools in the Milwaukee, Racine, and Wisconsin parental choice programs submitted data to the DPI using a new data collection system. Report cards for these schools do not have any scores or ratings because at least two years of data is needed. Attendance and absenteeism rates lag by one year and graduation rates require four years of data. Legislative requirements to produce report cards give choice schools an opportunity to opt-in to receive a report card for all students attending the private school rather than just students participating in the choice program. That option will open to choice schools for the 2016-17 report cards.

Read more:

Most schools make grade in new report cards

The vast majority of public school and districts in Wisconsin earned three or more stars, meaning they met or exceeded expectations for educating children, in the latest state report cards, issued by the Department of Public Instruction on Thursday.


Nation’s Report Card shows state science scores largely unchanged

From the Department of Public Instruction

naep_scienceWisconsin students outperformed the nation in both assessed grades on the 2015 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) science assessment.

Average scale scores for Wisconsin public school students in grade eight and grade four were not statistically different from the last administration of the exam. Small improvements in scale scores of Wisconsin takers across subgroups were seen but the results must be viewed with caution due to the fact that the NAEP uses samples of students and is not a census exam.

When looking at performance for subgroups of Wisconsin students, a number outperform the national averages in grades eight and four. Those include English-language learners (EL) in both grades, males and females in both grades, non-disabled students in both grades, and non-EL students in grade eight. Wisconsin student results showed no statistical difference from other groups of takers nationally when comparing American Indian or Alaska Native students in grade four, Asian students in grade eight, Hispanic students in both grades, white students in both grades, students eligible for free or reduced-price school meals in both grades, and students with disabilities in both grades. Students nationally outperformed Wisconsin when compared across subgroups of black students in both grades and Asian students in grade four.

The NAEP science assessment was administered between January and March of 2015 to approximately 2,500 fourth-graders and 2,300 eight-graders in Wisconsin public schools. Nationally, approximately 110,800 fourth-graders and 107,200 eighth-graders took the test. The most recent administration of NAEP science in 2011 was only given to eighth-grade students. The science exam is broken into three content areas that assess knowledge and skills in physical science, Earth and space sciences, and life science. Because the exam is administered to a sample of students, no results are available for individual schools or districts.

Find a detailed breakdown of scores HERE.

Read more from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

Wisconsin No. 1 for black-white science achievement gap

Wisconsin students scored above average in science in 2015, but other states are catching up – and making progress toward closing achievement gaps, according to the latest results of the National Assessment of Educational Progress, also known as the Nation’s Report Card.