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The Department of Defense Education Activity is planning to form a task group to evaluate the school system’s mathematics program after students’ math scores fell in the latest round of TerraNova test scores, which were released Monday.

Each year, students in grades 3 through 11 take the standardized test. The 2008 math scores in six of the nine grades fell from the 2007 results.

"We are completing a review of our preK-12 English language arts and mathematics standards and we’re modifying them with regard to clarity and specificity," Shirley Miles, DODEA director said in a news release. "We plan to distribute the new standards to teachers and we are now forming a task group to evaluate our entire mathematics program to provide us with strategies aimed at increasing student achievement."

Overall, however, students attending the U.S. military’s school system continued to score as well as or higher than their civilian system counterparts in standardized tests taken during the last school year. As in past years, they consistently ranked higher in the five subject areas that were tested.

"We are very encouraged with our students’ continued progress in this year’s TerraNova results," Miles said in the release. "The scores indicate our students are consistently performing above the national average in all of the subtest categories."

The exams are given annually to students in third grade through 11th, testing knowledge in reading, language, math, science and social studies.

DODEA’s lowest median score — 60 — was turned in by third-graders in reading. That means that DODEA third-graders as a whole scored 10 percentage points higher than the median for all third-graders taking the test. The highest score was a 76 in language, achieved by the system’s high-school sophomores. All the other scores fell somewhere in between.

Students enrolled in schools in Europe did even better, scoring higher than the DODEA average in 39 of the 45 categories. That included the highest score turned in by the system, sophomores’ 78 in language. The only area that Europe-based students fell short of the DODEA average was by third-graders in math.

In the Pacific, scores were slightly lower. The highest score also belonged to the sophomores, who scored in the 75th percentile in language. The lowest score was a 59 in reading by third-graders. Pacific students scored higher than the DODEA average in 14 of the 45 categories.

As a whole, the system’s results matched those turned in by DODEA students in 2007, though there were rises and drops in various categories. Social studies remained the subject area where DODEA students scored the lowest, with students as a whole earning average median scores of 66.33. Language continued to be the strongest subject for DODEA students, with average median scores of 68.55.

The most gains were turned in by seventh- and eighth-graders, who improved over the previous year’s totals in all but one category (eighth-grade social studies). The most declines were turned in by fourth-graders (every subject) and high school juniors (all but social studies). The largest subject gain was turned by seventh-graders in social studies (62 to 66) and the largest fall was suffered by fourth-graders in math (66 to 62).

• See charts (PDF) detailing the statistics for DODEA, Europe, Pacific and DDESS (stateside) schools.

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Kent has filled numerous roles at Stars and Stripes including: copy editor, news editor, desk editor, reporter/photographer, web editor and overseas sports editor. Based at Aviano Air Base, Italy, he’s been TDY to countries such as Afghanistan Iraq, Kosovo and Bosnia. Born in California, he’s a 1988 graduate of Humboldt State University and has been a journalist for almost 38 years.
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