KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany – For two consecutive testing years, fourth- and eighth-graders in the U.S. military’s school system scored above the national average on a newly designed assessment measuring how well students can use words to comprehend reading passages.
The first-ever vocabulary report card from the National Assessment of Educational Progress was released this week, with the Department of Defense Education Activity’s average scores in 2009 and 2011 near the top of the nation when compared with the 50 states and the District of Columbia.
Vocabulary results from 2009 and 2011 were reported together to allow for trend comparisons, according to information from the National Assessment Governing Board, which sets policy for NAEP.
In 2009 and 2011, DODEA fourth-graders scored an average of 229 on a 500-point scale. This was 12 points above the national average and second only to Massachusetts, according to the NAEP reading assessment vocabulary report.
The average score both years for DODEA’s eighth-graders was 275, behind only Montana and New Hampshire in 2009, and Massachusetts in 2011, according to the NAEP report. DODEA was among 18 states or jurisdictions where average scores were higher than the nation’s average, according to the report.
In a news release, DODEA officials said they were pleased with scores that continue to be above the national average, but would look to improve on the flat results. In the release, DODEA Deputy Director Adrian B. Talley said DODEA will examine what can be done “to continue to raise the academic bar for all students.”
Vocabulary questions were part of NAEP reading assessments in the past, but beginning in 2009, the reading test was redesigned to provide a way to better measure and report students’ understanding of word meaning, according to NAEP’s governing board. “Without a strong vocabulary, any child’s ability to read and to learn suffers dramatically,” said David Driscoll, chairman of the National Assessment Governing Board, in a news release.
NAEP assessments have been conducted periodically since 1969 and are intended to inform the public of what America’s students know and can do in various subject areas.
The assessments are administered to representative samples of students rather than the entire national, state or district populations. The 2009 vocabulary results, for example, included 116,600 fourth-graders, according to the NAEP report.