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American Students Making Grounds in Math

According to, American students in grades four and eight showed steady improvements in mathematics since 1995 and generally rank at least in the top one-third compared to other countries, according to an international education comparison released today.

In the latest report of the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS), the ongoing evaluation of 36 to 48 countries revealed that in 2007 the U.S. consistently rated at least in top one-third and in some cases the top one-fourth of participating nations.

In 2007, the average U.S. fourth-grade math score was higher than those of students in 23 of 35 other countries and among eighth-graders was higher than students in 37 of 47 other countries. According to the study, the eighth-grade gap in mathematics between white and Hispanic U.S. students narrowed by 15 points—about 20 percent—since 1995. Similarly, a bigger gap between white and black fourth-graders narrowed by approximately 20 points and by white and black eight-graders by 21 points.

The 2007 TIMSS found that U.S. fourth-graders jumped 11 points in math between 2003 and 2007 and 16 points since 1995 among eighth-graders. In science, the average U.S. score for eighth-graders was higher than the average scores of students in 35 of the 47 other countries and for fourth-graders was higher than the average scores of students in 25 of 35 other countries.

Since 1995, the TIMSS test has been conducted every four years among students in grades four and eight to evaluate their math and science skills. The project is coordinated by the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement and the International Study Center at Boston College. A total of 36 countries participated in grade four and 48 countries at grade eight.

Further information on TIMSS, including the U.S. 2007 results, can be found at

More information on NAEP is available at

For more information on student achievement in the U.S., visit Mapping Educational Progress 2008 at

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