State ranks low on nation's math, reading report card

BATON ROUGE (AP) — Public school students in Louisiana again have finished near the bottom nationally in reading and math

in the latest update of the nation's report card.

The Advocate reported the scores are from the National Assessment of Educational Progress exam, which

is considered one of the most reliable indicators of student achievement and state-to-state comparisons.

The latest results for fourth- and eighth-graders show that Louisiana students were:

• Tied for 50th in fourth-grade math.

48th in fourth-grade reading.

Tied for 48th in eighth-grade math and eighth-grade reading.

About 3,000 Louisiana students took the test in each category. The state failed to show statistically significant gains or

losses in any of the four sections.

The results were released earlier this week but embargoed for publication until Thursday. They carry extra significance amid

arguments about Louisiana's drive to beef up public school courses, through the use of Common Core.

Backers contend that increasing standards in math, reading and writing will improve student achievement.

Opponents say the changes could pave the way for a federal curriculum, are being implemented too quickly and failed to get

enough public input before they were approved by the state's top school board in 2010.

In 2011 students in Louisiana finished 48th in fourth-grade reading; 49th in fourth-grade math; 49th in eighth-grade reading

and 47th in eighth-grade math.

In fourth-grade math, students in

Massachusetts, Minnesota and New Hampshire tied for first and in

fourth-grade reading, students

in Massachusetts, Maryland and New Hampshire tied for first.

Students in Massachusetts finished first in both eighth-grade reading and math.