DARMSTADT, Germany — The scores are in, and according to the “Nation’s Report Card,” students at military schools — particularly minority students — rank higher than their stateside peers in the sciences.

Results from the 2005 National Assessment of Educational Progress tests, also known as the nation’s report card, show Department of Defense Education Activity students overall perform at or near the top in science. Among black and Hispanic children, DODEA students earned the highest science scores in the nation.

“These results show the strength of our program and the strength of the military community,” said Jim Jarrard, DODEA coordinator for the tests. “We focus on every kid.”

The NAEP test is administered to fourth- and eighth-grade students nationwide. The tests are mandatory for reading and math, but are voluntary for science, writing, U.S. history, civics, geography, and the arts. Forty-four states chose to participate in the science exam, officials said, with the final results released last week.

Eighth-grade DODEA students earned the fourth highest science score in the nation, 160, which was 13 points above the national average and just four points below top-ranked North Dakota.

DODEA fourth-graders performed about as well, ranking fifth with a score of 156, seven points higher than the national average.

Black students, both fourth- and eighth-graders, at DODEA schools continued to outperform their public school counterparts by earning the highest scores in the country. However, their scores are still below the national average for students of all races.

Hispanic DODEA fourth- and eighth-graders, however, performed above the national average for all students, earning the highest rank in the country when compared to other Hispanic students. This difference was particularly marked at the eighth-grade level. Hispanic DODEA eighth-graders earned a science score of 160, 13 points higher than the national average for all students, and a full 33 points higher than other Hispanics nationwide.

The consistent high performance of minority students at Department of Defense schools is due to both in-school and out-of-school factors, officials said. According to a 2002 study by Vanderbilt University, some reasons for the high minority scores are that DOD schools tend to be small and resources are equally distributed. Also, parents are strongly encouraged to take part in parent-teacher conferences and receive duty time to attend.

The Department of Defense operates more than 200 elementary and secondary schools worldwide, educating more than 100,000 students.

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