The Science Research Associates achievement tests and the Short Test of Educational Ability were administered to aproximately 320,000 students in Virginia in grades 4, 6, 8 and 11 between Oct. 15 and Nov. 15, 1976. The chart shows the results statewide and also those for Northern Virginia districts.

All test results are reported in percentile ranks. The average scores of Virginia students tested are compared with the scores of a norm group (national sample of students.) For example, a percentile rank of 51 for Virginia students indicates that their mean score was higher than the scores of 51 per cent of the students in the national norm group and lower than 49 per cent. The 50th percentile represents an average score for students nationwide.

The Virginia department of education, which provided the figures, said: "The following conclusions have been drawn from an analysis of the statewide test results:

1. Academic achievement of Virginia students as a whole is tending upwards at the lower grade levels and is stable at the upper grade levels.

2. Achievement in all subject areas at the fourth-grade level and in mathematics and science at the sixth and eighth grades has improved significantly over the past three years.

3. In the four grade levels tested, fourth-grade scores are highest, slightly exceeding the national average in five of the seven achievement areas reported."