Eighth-grade students at the Bahrain school work on an assignment on Thursday, Aug. 27, 2015. DODEA eighth-graders in 2017 led the nation in the latest national reading assessment released this week.

Eighth-grade students at the Bahrain school work on an assignment on Thursday, Aug. 27, 2015. DODEA eighth-graders in 2017 led the nation in the latest national reading assessment released this week. (Stars and Stripes)

KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany — The latest national test results show that U.S. military students are right up there with academic powerhouse Massachusetts.

Scores from the 2017 National Assessment of Educational Progress exams were released Tuesday, and the Department of Defense Education Activity held its own against the state that traditionally outperforms the nation in student assessments.

In fact, DODEA eighth-graders topped Massachusetts and the rest of the country in NAEP reading scores, while DODEA fourth-graders tied with their counterparts in Massachusetts and Minnesota on the NAEP math assessment.

Also known as the Nation’s Report Card, NAEP is the largest ongoing assessment of what U.S. students know and can do. The latest results reflect math and reading scores of 585,000 fourth- and eighth-grade students in districts and states across the country who took the test.

Results for the nation reflect the performance of students attending public schools, private schools, Bureau of Indian Education schools, and Defense Department schools. All 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and DODEA participated.

DODEA was near the top in the other NAEP categories. The school system’s fourth-graders scored second in the nation in reading — behind Massachusetts — while DODEA eighth-graders tied for third with New Hampshire in math, after Massachusetts and Minnesota.

In all four testing areas, DODEA students scored significantly higher than the national average, noted the agency’s director, Thomas M. Brady.

“We are extremely proud of our students’ performance” on the 2017 NAEP math and reading assessments, Brady said in a statement.

“Our students’ strong performance was especially significant in light of the fact that this was the first year of digitally-based administration of the NAEP assessments in our schools,” Brady said.

Last year’s administration of the assessment was the first to be conducted digitally. About 80 percent of students in 2017 took the test on digital devices, while 20 percent used traditional pencil-and-paper tests, according to Education Week.

Collectively, students’ scores across the nation remained flat, showing little change from 2015, when the tests were last given.

But DODEA students increased their average scores in all subjects, except for fourth-grade reading, where the average score remained at 234 on NAEP’s 500-point scale.

Here is a further breakdown of some of the DODEA results:

DODEA fourth-graders had an average score of 234 on the reading assessment, compared with the public school average nationwide of 221. Forty-eight percent were at or above the NAEP proficient level, compared with the national average of 35 percent. Students deemed proficient demonstrate solid academic performance and competency over challenging subject matter, according to NAEP; DODEA eighth-graders in reading scored an average of 280, three points higher than eighth-graders did in 2015 and 15 points higher than the national average of 265. Fifty-one percent were at or above proficient, compared with 35 percent nationally; DODEA fourth-graders scored an average of 249 on math, one point higher than in 2015 and 10 points above the national average. Fifty-one percent were at or above proficient, compared with 40 percent nationally. DODEA eighth-graders scored an average of 293 on math, compared with 282 nationally; that was two points higher than eighth-grade scores in math in 2015. Forty-two percent were at or above proficient, compared to 40 percent nationally; Scores are also broken down by ethnicity. Among DODEA fourth-graders, white students outperformed their black, Hispanic and Asian counterparts, on average, in reading, while Asian students scored the highest, on average, in math in the fourth grade. Among DODEA eighth-graders, Asian students were tops in math and nearly equal with students identifying as white in Twitter: @stripesktown

author picture
Jennifer reports on the U.S. military from Kaiserslautern, Germany, where she writes about the Air Force, Army and DODEA schools. She’s had previous assignments for Stars and Stripes in Japan, reporting from Yokota and Misawa air bases. Before Stripes, she worked for daily newspapers in Wyoming and Colorado. She’s a graduate of the College of William and Mary in Virginia.

Sign Up for Daily Headlines

Sign up to receive a daily email of today's top military news stories from Stars and Stripes and top news outlets from around the world.

Sign Up Now