WASHINGTON -- The nation's math report card shows promise, with more than seven in 10 fourth-graders and almost as many eighth-graders now achieving at a basic level or better.
But enthusiasm over rising test scores is tempered by another figure: More than two-thirds of the students still can't do math at the level they should, based on federal standards.
In reading, meanwhile, the performance of students in grades four and eight largely held steady over the past year, continuing a trend in which math gains have been more pervasive.
The new findings, based on representative samples, come from the test considered the best benchmark of progress over time and across the states: the National Assessment of Educational Progress.
Compared with their peers in 2000, fourth-graders and eighth-graders made sizable gains.