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WASHINGTON — Defense Department schools are outpacing the national average in math, reading and minority achievement, according to results from the National Assessment of Education Progress. SEE CHART

Officials with the Department of Defense Education Activity said the results mirror achievement trends at the schools over the last several years, and show that children of military families are receiving as good an education as their public school peers, if not better.

“It’s again solid evidence that we’re providing excellent education to our students,” said Janet Rope, administrator for research and evaluation with the DODEA. “We’re really close to the top in most of these categories.”

The assessment, dubbed the nation’s report card, is conducted every few years to provide a side-by-side comparison of state education systems, according to program officials. The 2005 test was administered between January and March.

The reading assessments in particular show the military children scored significantly higher than their public school counterparts.

By 13 percentage points, DODEA 4th- and 8th-graders outpaced the national average in basic reading skills. Eighty-four percent of DODEA 8th-graders met the basic knowledge level, a higher mark than any posted by the 50 states.

Black 4th-grade students in military schools surpassed the basic reading mark of their public school peers by 24 percentage points. Among 8th-grade Hispanic students, military students surpassed their peers by 28 percentage points.

Rope said the math test results weren’t as dramatic, but were still above national averages.

DODEA runs more than 200 schools worldwide and oversees about 95,000 students. Rope said the schools have been the subjects of national studies in the past, to see why minority students seem to have more success there, but researchers failed to come up with definitive answers.

“We know part of it is our education system … but also we know our parents are more involved,” she said.

Both overseas military schools and domestic classrooms were included in the DODEA data, but separate breakdowns were not available. Rope said that historically, the two groups have performed similarly on these types of assessments.

Assessment results show North Dakota posted the highest passage rate in the 8th-grade math test, with 81 percent of students achieving a basic skill level. Massachusetts posted the highest passage rates in both 4th-grade reading and 4th-grade math, with 91 percent and 78 percent respectively, and finished second in both 8th-grade math and reading.

For a full breakdown of NAEP data, visit nationsreportcard.gov.

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