Kentucky's fourth graders made "statistically significant" gains in mathematics on the 2009 National Assessment of Education Progress test.
Kentucky was one of eight states or jurisdictions where fourth graders recorded such gains in math scores from 2007 to 2009 on the NAEP test, the state Department of Education said, citing national scores. The others were Maryland, Colorado, Nevada, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont, and the District of Columbia.
The federal NAEP assessment is given to a sampling of students, so every Kentucky school or district did not take it. The test, sometimes called the "Nation's Report Card," assesses students in reading, math and science. Results in the other areas are not available yet.
Overall, the "scale score" for Kentucky's fourth graders in math reached the national average on the test, while Kentucky eight graders' scale score in math was just under the national average.
Cindy Heine, associate executive director of the Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence, said in an e-mail circulated Tuesday that the math results are worth celebrating.
"Given our history of being behind in math, it is a sweet, sweet thing to see," she said. "We've got a long road to travel ... but this is a milestone worth some mighty celebration."
Students' performances on the NAEP test are placed in four categories: Below Basic, Basic, Proficient or Advanced.
Some 81 percent of Kentucky fourth graders and 70 percent of Kentucky eighth graders were rated Basic or above.