Rich Van Wyk/Eyewitness News
Indianapolis - Indiana's schools brought home a report card that educators smiling with relief: Math and reading scores are improving. The National Assessment of Educational Progress ranks Indiana ahead of many other states.
Reading and math grades on the so-called nation's report card are higher this year and improving faster than schools in most other states.
"Indiana is doing better than the states nearby. We're doing better than the national average," said Dr. Peter Kloosterman, IU School of Education associate dean.
Kloosterman points to what he calls whopping increases in Indiana's math scores. Fourth graders scored six points better than the national average, the seventh highest in the country. Eighth graders beat the national average by five points, ranking 17th.
"To see that kind of increase we've got in mathematics is almost unprecedented," he said.
The National Assessment of Educational Progress tests a cross section of students from thousands of schools. In Indiana a sampling of 5,700 students in more than 100 different schools took the tests.
Reading skills are improving as well, but not as dramatically. Fourth graders scores are slightly better than the national average. Eighth graders have similar results.
"We have to understand we have more children in poverty and more children for whom English is a new language," said Dr. Suellen Reed, state Superintendent of Public Instruction.
Despite efforts to improve reading skills, educators insist much of what students learn of the English language occurs out side the classroom.
Although math and reading scores over all are up, Indiana educators concede schools aren't making much progress narrowing the so-called achievement gap. Low-income and minority children aren't catching up with majority of students.