By Bob Weaver

West Virginia's fourth-and-eighth-grader's performed more poorly in mathematics than their peers nationwide, according to a report card just issued by the National Assessment of Educational Progress.

The report said less than a third of students tested have a solid grasp of math.

WV ranked 40th out of 50 states with 4th grade students.

WV ranked 44th out of 50 states with 8th grade students.

The tests, also known as "the nation's report card," are considered the best gauge of public school student performance in core subjects.

The WV Department of Education looks at the numbers differently, saying the math scores have actually increased over a five-year period.

The department also says last year's eighth and fourth graders were required to take the national test just a short time after the state had switched to a more "rigorous curriculum," according to WV Superintendent of Schools Steve Paine.

"I expect to see significant achievement increases by 2011. I am confident the steps outlined in Global21 will lead to real student achievement as we help our kids to be globally intelligent and resilient in a digital world," Paine said.

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