Mississippi eighth graders showed a seven-point improvement in their writing skills last year, the fifth highest rate in the country, according to education officials.
Nationally, eighth grade students got better at writing by four points, according to results released Thursday by the U.S. Department of Education.
The findings for 2002 were part of an annual report by the National Assessment of Educational Progress, also called the Nation's Report Card.
The national average score in writing for eighth graders was 152. In Mississippi, the average score was 141, a seven-point increase from 1998.