Literacy Scores For AR Minorities Rise

June 29, 2005 -- Posted at 10:28 AM CDT

LITTLE ROCK (AP) _ Scores of black and Hispanic students improved this year on Arkansas' 11th grade literacy examination. But the state Department of Education said today that 80 percent of black juniors and 71 percent of Hispanics continued to score below proficiency in the annual test given in April to public school students completing their junior year of high school.

Overall, 45 percent of Arkansas juniors scored at or above their grade level. The percentage of black students scoring at grade level was 20 percent, compared to 18 percent last year. The percentage of Hispanics at proficiency or above was 29 percent compared to 27 percent last year.

State Education Director Ken James says he is pleased to see the test scores of the minority groups improving. James says even though percentages are small, they represent steps in the right direction.

(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)