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Reading scores about the same for Wisconsin students

Wisconsin school students had about the same scores on their statewide reading tests as they did a year ago.

That's according to figures being released today on the Knowledge and Concepts Exams taken by 434,000 youngsters.

In math, third-graders increased their scores by 1 percentage point. Eighth graders dropped a point. High school sophomores fell 2 points.

But in a three-year average, math scores trended upward in the elementary and middle grades, and down in high school - while reading scores held about steady.

State Superintendent Elizabeth Burmaster was encouraged, but said more must be done to close racial and ethnic achievement gaps.

Those gaps have narrowed in the past three years but they're still significant.

Eighty-two percent of white youngsters had proficient or advanced scores in math. But only 40 percent of blacks scored that high, along with 56 percent of Hispanics, 62 percent of Indians, and 74 percent of Asian youngsters.

In reading, proficiency results ranged from 88 percent for whites to 56 for blacks.

Burmaster says poverty works against student performance and communities must work together to support academics.