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Tennessee 12th Graders Below Average in Math, Reading

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Tennessee Education Commissioner Kevin Huffman said Wednesday that a report showing the state's high school seniors' below-average performance in math and reading is partially due to them not being exposed to recent education changes that have more rigorous standards.

Tennessee was among 13 states that voluntarily participated in the latest National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) test, also known as the nation's report card.

Twelfth-graders in those states were tested last year from January to March.
The average score of students in Tennessee was 282, which was lower than the national average score of 287 for public school students, according to the results released Wednesday.

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In math, Tennessee 12th-grade students scored 145, compared to 152 nationally. Last year, NAEP's assessment of Tennessee students in fourth- and eighth-grade reading and math showed the state leading the nation in academic improvement.

Huffman said those students have been exposed to Common Core education standards and other courses that allow them to take higher levels of subjects like math and science.

"The fourth- and eighth-graders have gone through school most of the way with higher standards in place, and the 12th-graders haven't," Huffman said. "We've got to upgrade the rigor of the classes and make sure that all kids have access ... to rigorous classes."

The commissioner said another factor may be that "elementary and middle schools are just improving faster than high schools."
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