(Cynthia Esparza/AP)

The nation received its latest report card on Thursday, and math and reading skills are on the rise.

The tests, of students in the fourth and eighth grades, showed that math scores this year were higher than in any previous year. The same was true of reading scores for eighth graders, while reading among fourth graders showed no change from its 2011 peak. The tests were conducted as part of the congressionally authorized National Assessment of Educational Progress, run by the National Center of Education Statistics. The assessments have been collected since 1969, with more than 185,000 fourth-graders and more than 170,000 eighth-graders participating in the current version.

The math test assesses skills on number properties and operations; measurement; geometry; data analysis, statistics, and probability; and algebra. The reading test scores students on two types of texts: literary and informational texts.

While the scores are positive overall, results are mixed among states. Students in a large swath of states from California to Alabama lagged the nation in reading proficiency at both grade levels, according to the report. In all, 12 states and D.C. scored lower than the nation on reading in both grades. Fourteen states scored higher than the nation in both grades.


(Credit: National Assessment of Educational Progress report.)

Students in both grades in 10 states lagged the nation on math scores, while those in 18 states outperformed the nation.


(Credit: National Assessment of Educational Progress report.)