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Maryland Students' Reading Proficiency Scores Drop In 2019, Nation's Report Card Finds

ATLANTA (WJZ/AP) -- America's eighth-graders are falling behind in math and reading, while fourth-graders are doing slightly better in reading.

That's according to the latest results from the Nation's Report Card. There were exceptions to the findings, which also showed declines among fourth-graders in math.

Mississippi, the District of Columbia and some big-city school districts showed gains.

Nationwide, a little more than a third of eighth-graders are proficient in reading and math. About a third of fourth-graders are proficient in reading, while more than 40 percent of fourth-graders are proficient in math.

In Maryland, fourth-grade reading scores dropped by five points from 2017 to 2019. Thirty-five percent of students were at or above the proficient level.

Among eighth-graders, scores dropped by three points, with 36 percent of students testing at or above the proficient level.

In math, 39 percent of Maryland fourth-graders and 33 percent of eighth-graders were at or above proficient compared with 42 percent and 33 percent in 2017 respectively.

Within the Baltimore City Public Schools, 13 percent of fourth-graders tested at or above proficient in reading in 2019, the same as in 2017. Eighth-grade scores improved slightly, with 15 percent of students at or above proficiency this year compared to 13 percent in 2017.

Math scores for city students remained fairly similar, with 15 percent of fourth-graders and ten percent of eighth-graders at or above proficiency in 2019.

In a statement, city school officials said they're seeing positive results from the Blueprint for Success implemented in 2017.

"Though we still have work to do to realize the gains we know are possible, I'm confident that if we stay focused on literacy, student wholeness, and leadership in the district's Blueprint for Success, we are positioning our students and staff for success now and in the future," schools CEO Sonja Santelises said.

The nationwide test is given to a sampling of students in those grades every two years.

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos calls the results "devastating" and using them to renew her push for expanded school choice.

(© Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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