Reading and math scores for Nevada's fourth- and eighth-graders improved slightly, but the results remained below the national public school average, the U.S. Department of Education reported Thursday.
The 2003 math and reading scores, the National Assessment of Education Progress, were compiled as a report card on the nation's schools.
The scores were required of all 50 states for the first time under the No Child Left Behind Act, a federal law demanding higher educational performance. The results will be used as benchmark for measuring progress.
In both reading and math, students were graded on a scale of zero to 500. The students were placed in four categories: below basic, basic, proficient and advanced.
The reading score for Nevada's fourth-graders was 207, down two points from last year. The average for the nation's public schools was 216. The reading score for eighth-graders was 252, up one point from 2002, but below the national average of 261.
Math results for the state's fourth-graders totaled 228, up eight points from 2000. The national average was 234. Eighth-graders scored 268 in math, up three points from 2000. The national average was 276.
The percentage of fourth-graders in Nevada who scored at or above the NAEP proficient level in math was 23 percent in 2003; the percentage of eighth-graders was 20 percent.
The percentage of fourth-graders in Nevada who scored at or above the NAEP proficient level in reading was 20 percent in 2003; the percentage of eighth-graders was 21 percent.
The Nevada data also showed that male eighth-graders had an average score that was lower than that of female students in reading. The same was true for fourth-grade readers. Average scores in math were about the same among male and female students in both grades.
The student snapshot also indicated that white students scored higher in reading and math than black and Hispanic students.
In 2003, students who were not eligible for free or reduced school lunches had an average score that was higher than that of students who were eligible, results showed.