Editorial: Educational work must continue

Published 12:00 am Thursday, October 20, 2005

The latest federal readingand math test results released Wednesday are encouraging &045; students have shown improvement in both areas.

The National Assessment of Educational Progress tests how well students perform on the basics as well as how effective Bush’s focus on math and reading is working.

The last test was administered in 2003 to elementary fourth-graders and middle school eighth-graders. This year,

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Minnesota students ranked second in math and were near the top in reading scores compared to other states.

In math, 47 percent of state fourth-graders could handle challenging material. Forty-three percent of eighth-graders tested &8220;proficient&8221; or better in the subject.

The average eighth-grade score was 290, down from 291 in 2003, but still beat the national average of 278.

Average fourth-grade math scores were 246, leaving few states who averaged better than Minnesota.

Reading scores were less stellar, though still encouraging: Thirty-eight percent of of state fourth-graders were proficient or better in reading compared with 37 percent of eighth-graders. Nationally, reading scores in the higher grade remained flat, which indicates more work must be done to improve performance.

While the numbers leave much leeway for interpretation, teachers in Minnesota &045; and the federal government &045; should give themselves light applause.

Then they should really examine the data and determine how they might better present the lessons so every student may make great strides in reading.