The new results did not include global comparisons, but U.S. students historically do poorly on international assessments compared to many foreign peers.
Education Secretary Arne Duncan noted that despite the good news related to graduation rates and scores in younger grades, high school achievement has been flat in recent years.
“We must reject educational stagnation in our high schools, and as a nation we must do better for all students, especially for African-American and Latino students,” Duncan said in a statement.
Community colleges and four-year institutions have been trying to improve their remedial education programs, given that only about one-quarter of students who take remedial classes end up graduating.
It’s estimated that more than one-third of all college students, and more than one-half in community colleges, need some remedial help, according to research from the Community College Research Center at Teachers College, Columbia University.
In addition to the national scores released Wednesday, 13 states voluntarily participated at a greater level and had scores reported.