Grade Schoolers Improve in Geography

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

Given a blank map of the United States, one in three fourth-graders can't find their state and mark it with an X.

When asked to write the name of the state or district where you live, many marked an adjacent state or wrote the name of their city.

The question was on a national geography test given last year, the results of which were Friday by the Education Department.

Among the findings:

  • Overall, scores of fourth- and eighth-graders rose slightly since 1994, the first time the test was given. Twelfth-graders' scores were unchanged.

  • 21 percent of fourth-graders, 30 percent of eighth-graders and 25 percent of 12th-graders scored at the proficient level.

  • The National Assessment Governing Board, the independent group that developed the test, defines proficient as showing solid academic performance and the ability to apply knowledge to actual situations.

  • The percentage of fourth-graders scoring basic or above rose from 70 percent in 1994 to 74 percent in 2001. More eighth-graders scored basic or above as well — up from 71 percent to 74 percent.

  • Students who score basic show partial mastery for grade-level work.

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