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Education Lab is a yearlong project to spark meaningful conversations about education solutions in the Pacific Northwest.

Topic: National Assessment of Educational Progress

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January 9, 2014 at 5:00 AM

If school spending here matched Massachusetts, would we top nation?

Mark Weber / Op Art

Mark Weber / Op Art

In the latest national ranking of state education systems, Washington state held its usual, somewhat confounding position.

Washington did well on a number of academic measures in the Education Week analysis, which the national newsmagazine publishes each year.

Washington, for example, ranks 7th in the percent of eighth-graders who score “proficient” in math, and 7th in the percent scoring “advanced,” on the national test known as the NAEP (National Assessment of Educational Progress).

It also sits among the top dozen states in fourth-grade reading and math as well.

But in Washington, low-income students lag further behind their better-off counterparts than in other parts of the country. The gap in fourth-grade reading performance on the NAEP, for example, earned Washington a ranking of 34. And that gap has widened over the past decade.

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