Science Schools are Still Not Great at Science

The educational keyword of the year is STEM – Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.

STEM is said so often that it has basically lost its meaning. Plus, people keep adding extra stuff to the focus. People wanted arts to be involved, so they made it STEAM. People wanted more reading emphasis, so it became STREAM. Soon, people will want to add History, PE and Electives into the mix, and you know what that is called?


And the hot thing to do is to name your school with a flashy name that emphasized your focus on STEM. One day, I know I am going to read about a school that didn’t fully think through their name and ends up with a terrible acronym (maybe it will be the Feinberg Academy of Reading and Technology….)

2015-2016 Science scores were just released a few days ago. So, did how did Science Schools do on the science test this year?

Below we have science scores for all schools with “science” in their name in Los Angeles County. The score represents the precent of students who are rated as proficient and advanced in science. The red line is the LA county average score for science.


The county average was 60% proficient or advanced, and the LAUSD average was 53%. The median science focused school was 51% proficient or advanced.

Magnolia Science Academy comes up again – and it doesn’t look great. MSA #2 – which scored the lowest possible on the CCSA similar schools score – also did poorly in science. In fact, MSA’s median science score was 43%.

Now for a bit of a caveat. This science test is old. It is based on the old standards, it is a paper and pencil multiple choice test, and it only tests 8th grade science standards. In the future, the test will be different – and many schools have already switched over to teaching the new standards. But even if they did switch over, they shouldn’t do this poorly.

I have written this similar article a few times now (here and here and here), and every time I get the same results. Just because a school says that they focus on something – that means very little in terms of how those students perform on tests.



One Reply to “Science Schools are Still Not Great at Science”

  1. El Rincon Elementary in CCUSD is another supposed STEM-focus school. They have a fancy lab with microscopes, but…

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