Fourth- and eighth-grade students across Texas are outperforming their peers nationwide in math, according to test scores posted Oct. 28 by the federal government in the Nation’s Report Card.

In fourth-grade math, Texas ranked 11th nationally on the 2015 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), up from 27th in 2013. The score of 244 was above the national average of 240 and set a new state record, eclipsing the 242 scored in 2005, 2007 and 2013, according to a news release from the Texas Education Agency. Scores broken down by subpopulations also exceeded their peer groups nationwide, as seen in the chart below, with African-American students in Texas scoring second nationally behind African-American students in Defense Department schools.

Fourth-grade math
    Student groups

Texas
Score
National
Rank
National
Score
National Public 244 11 240
White  255 4 248
African-American 233 2 224
Hispanic 239 4 230

“Math scores for our Texas fourth-graders increased at a time when scores on the national level declined,” Commissioner of Education Michael Williams said. “Only through effective professional development support for our educators that, in turn, leads to strong instruction in our classrooms, can we sustain our state’s success on the national level.”

In eighth-grade math, Texas ranked 23rd nationally, down from 16th in 2013. The eighth-grade math score (284) exceeded the national average (281); however, scores declined from 2013, mirroring a national trend. Scores for white, African-American and Hispanic students also exceeded scores posted by their counterparts nationwide.

Eighth-grade math
Student groups

Texas
Score

National
Rank

National
Score
National Public 284 23 281
White 298 6 291
African-American 267 6 260
Hispanic 277 4 269

Declines in reading scores

According to the Nation’s Report Card, scores for fourth-grade reading held steady from 2013, with eighth-graders performing below 2013 levels. The Texas fourth-grade score of 218 was below the national average of 221, but Texas rose to 40th nationwide from 41st in 2013, with white and Hispanic students outperforming their counterparts nationwide. The state’s score for eighth-graders (261) also was slightly below the national average of 264, dropping Texas to 39th nationally from 38th in 2013. Scores for white and African-American students exceeded scores nationally.

“In an era of smartphone texting and 140-character communication, this national report confirms that all states are facing the same challenges in seeking ways to strengthen reading at every grade level,” Williams said.

NAEP is administered over a six-week period. For 2015, the assessment period was from Jan. 26 to March 6. About 279,000 fourth-graders and 278,000 eighth-graders across the country participated in NAEP assessments in math and reading. In Texas, 5,700 fourth-graders in 480 schools and 5,800 eighth-graders in 380 schools participated in the math tests. For reading, 5,600 fourth-graders and 5,700 eighth-graders participated in Texas. Click here to view the complete Nation’s Report Card.