5th and 7th Graders' Test Scores Up

August 15, 2003  -- Posted at 7:22 a.m. CDT

LITTLE ROCK, Ark.  --Arkansas fifth and seventh graders improved their performance on the Stanford Achievement Test last year, even exceeding the national average.

Tenth graders did NOT do quite as well. Fifth graders in Arkansas scored at the 56th percentile, on average, according to state Education Department figures released yesterday.

The numbers show performances for the 2002-2003 school year as well as from the year before. A score at the 56th percentile means 56 percent of those who took the test nationwide scored lower. The fifth graders' average was up from the year before, when those who took the test in Arkansas scored at the 50th percentile mark, on average.

Seventh graders did even better, averaging at the 58th percentile last year, up from the 51st percentile in 2001-2002. Arkansas tenth graders, however, scored at the 49th percentile, down from an average of the 50th percentile in 2001-2002.

In all, 98-thousand-301 students in the three grades took the test. It compares the achievement of Arkansas students with a national sample. Education officials caution the scores are not directly comparable because the tests were given to Arkansas students in September 2001, and in April 2003.

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