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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

American students not so hot in geography



where_are_we.If the latest national test results are any indication, American students are well, kinda lost. Less than one third are proficient in geography, with the percentage of proficient 12th graders dropping from 25 percent to 19 percent since 1994, according to results released this morning from the highly regarded National Assessment of Educational Progress test.

The news wasn't all bad. Fourth graders showed progress (the test is administered to a representative sample of fourth-, eighth- and 12th graders). The lowest-performing students showed progress. Some achievement gaps narrowed.

But supporters weren't accentuating the positive:

"We are concerned that our students are not doing better," David P. Driscoll, chairman of the National Assessment Governing Board, which oversees the NAEP, said in a written statement. "Geography is not just about maps. It is a rich and varied discipline that, now more than ever, is vital to understanding the connections between our global economy, environment, and diverse cultures."

Unlike some subjects tested by NAEP, the geography test does not include state by state results or results for big urban districts.

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[Last modified: Tuesday, July 19, 2011 9:56am]


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