ATLANTA (AP) _ Georgia's fourth and eighth graders have nearly caught up with the nation in reading but still lag in mathematics, national test results released Tuesday show.
Georgia students performed better than they ever have on the National Assessment of Educational Progress — a federal test considered the best state-to-state measure of classroom progress.
State education officials heralded the scores as proof that Georgia's new curriculum is working. The students who took the NAEP test last year had been using new reading curriculum for two years, but the state did not implement its new mathematics curriculum for grades 4 and 8 until this school year.
"This is the first time that Georgia students have scored on a national level, but it won't be the last time," state schools Superintendent Kathy Cox said in a news release. "As we continue to implement and use the new curriculum, we expect to see this type of improvement on a regular basis."
Georgia's fourth graders scored an average of 219 on the reading test, just one point below the national average. That's up from 214 in 2005, the last time the test was given.
For eighth graders, the average reading score was 259, two points below the national average and an increase from 257 two years ago.
The math results were not as good.
Fourth graders scored a 235, four points below the national average and just one point better than two years ago. For eighth graders, the score was 272, six points below the national average and just two points improvement over the last test.
The scores on the National Assessment of Educational Progress will be scrutinized by state and federal policy makers looking for signs of whether the No Child Left Behind education law is working. The goal of that five-year-old law is to get all kids doing math and reading at their proper grade level by 2014.
NAEP tests are Congressionally mandated exams administered by the U.S. Department of Education