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Minnesota students get an "A" on the Nation's Report Card

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Minnesota students scored at the top of the nation's fourth-graders and eighth-graders in national tests results released Thursday.

The Star Tribune reported that the National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP) results showed Minnesota fourth-graders got the highest scores in the nation in math. In reading, fourth graders posted the 10th best scores. Minnesota eighth-graders had the fifth highest math scores in the country, and were in 11th place in math.

The Pioneer Press reported that although the state's pupils outperform the national average, Minnesota's stubborn achievement gap between white students and students of color continues to exist. The paper reported that the gap narrowed among fourth-graders but widened in the eighth-grade cohort.

But Education Commissioner Brenda Cassellius told MPR that the test, often called the "nation's report card," showed gains in the effort to close the gap, which has been among the nation's largest. Cassellius said it might be time to stop referring to the state's gap as the worst in the nation.

The Associated Press reports that Gov. Mark Dayton and Cassellius reviewed the results at a press conference at the State Capitol.

Nationally, the results show some improvement among fourth- and eighth-grade students taking the math exam and eighth-grade students taking the reading test. The tests were taken by nearly 800,000 students nationwide.

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