Mixed bag when US exam scores compared globally

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WASHINGTON — Eighth-graders in more than half the U.S. states did better than average on an international test in math and science, but the top students lagged behind South Korea, Singapore and Taiwan, according to a study released by the federal government Thursday.

In math, public school students in 36 states scored higher than average. The lowest scoring state was Alabama and the highest scoring was Massachusetts. U.S. students did better on the science test, with students in 47 states scoring higher than average. The District of Columbia was the lowest scoring U.S. jurisdiction while Massachusetts was again the highest scorer.

Still, while Massachusetts led the nation, only 19 percent of eighth graders from the Bay State scored high enough to be considered ‘‘advanced’’ in math compared to nearly 50 percent of eighth graders in Taiwan, South Korea and Singapore.

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