The National Assessment of Educational Progress, the Department of Education's standardized testing program, compiled the results of tests administered to fourth and eighth graders, The New York Times reported.
Thirteen percent of fourth graders were proficient in math in 1990, while 40 percent were this year, an increase of 27 percent, the testing officials said. Reading scores increased by 5 percentage points, with 29 percent of fourth graders proficient in 1990 and 34 percent this year.
"I'm disappointed but not surprised by these results," said Sharon Darling, founder of the National Center for Family Literacy, based in Kentucky. "Children spend five times as much time outside the classroom as they do in school, and our country has 30 million parents or caregivers who are not good readers themselves, so they pass illiteracy down to their children."
Despite the better math results, the United States still lags behind other countries in the subject, the newspaper reported.