Raleigh, N.C. — North Carolina fourth- and eighth-graders outperformed the nation in math in 2009, according to the National Assessment of Educational Progress results released by the U.S. Department of Education on Wednesday.
North Carolina fourth-graders increased their average score by two points over fourth grade performance in 2007, according to the state Department of Public Instruction.
June Atkinson, state superintendent of schools, said, "What is particularly exciting to me is that the fourth graders in these test results were in kindergarten during the first year of our current math curriculum. So, this shows us that the changes we made in mathematics instruction are having an impact."
The average score among the state's fourth-graders was 244 versus 239 for the nation. Only Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire and Vermont performed above North Carolina in fourth grade mathematics.
North Carolina's performance at fourth grade was not significantly different from that of 18 other states and was higher than 29 other states or jurisdictions.
Eighth grade students in North Carolina outperformed their national counterparts as well, although their score did not change from 2007. The average score among the state's eighth-graders was 284, which is higher than the national score of 282. North Carolina's eighth grade performance was higher than 19 other states or jurisdictions, not significantly different from 18 and lower than 14 states or jurisdictions.
Over time, students in North Carolina have improved their performance on the NAEP, according to North Carolina school leaders. When the assessments began in the early 1990s, North Carolina students scored below the national average. Over time, the state's performance has improved at a faster rate than the nation's performance, school leaders said.
Gov. Bev Perdue praised the students and their accomplishments saying, " As we prepare our students for the 21st century workforce, the importance of a solid foundation in mathematics cannot be overstated. We must continue to make progress in this area — and push for excellence in all subjects — to ensure that all of our kids, everywhere in North Carolina, get the skills to succeed in any career, anywhere in the world."