The head of Minnesota's education department is disappointed with the state's results on a nationwide science assessment test.
The test, given in 2009 as part of the National Assessment of Education Progress, shows that 43 percent of fourth graders, and only 40 percent of eighth graders scored "proficient: in science. Less than 1 percent of students achieved the test's "advanced" score.
Minnesota ranked in the top one-third of states overall, but Minnesota Education Commissioner Brenda Cassellius still calls the results troubling.
"This is not an indictment on our teachers, but just one more piece of evidence that proves that we have got to start stepping up our funding, our focusing in getting resources closer to the classroom, and a relentless focus on every single child, and that every single child is mastering the content," she said.
The test also shows a continuing achievement gap among students. White students in Minnesota are considered 51 percent proficient in science. Only 12 percent of black students and 16 percent of Hispanic students are proficient.
The exam tests knowledge and understanding of physical, life, Earth and space sciences. Nationally, 34 percent of fourth-graders and 30 percent of eighth-graders scored at the proficient level or above.
(The Associated Press contributed to this report)