There was some good news and bad news in a national report that came out this week from the National Assessment of Educational Progress, or NAEP.

First, the bad. North Carolina's eighth graders did worse on national tests of math and reading than they did two years ago, making it one of three states with significant declines in both subject areas.

The report shows eighth graders were at the national average in math, but the reading score showed a 4-point decline from 2013.

Ronda Gordon is President of the Forsyth County Association of Educators. As a school social worker, she sees a lot of poverty and other challenges students face each day. Gordon says teachers need more support from lawmakers to provide better outcomes. 

 “What we are seeing in Forsyth County as well some of our other counties in North Carolina is the fact that we have major teacher turnover,” says Gordon. “The resources that we need in our schools, they're not being provided by the state as they need to be.”

The good news is that North Carolina fourth grade scores were higher than national averages in both reading and math.

Tammy Howard at the State Department of Public Instruction says on average, fourth graders have shown significant improvement over the last 15 years. She says a recent “Read to Achieve” initiative could be responsible for the upward trend.

“These students were part of that program, and so that gives us pause to consider – did that program have an impact on fourth grade reading and if it did, possibly the question is how can we do this in other areas as well?” says Howard.

The state's curriculum and instruction team will meet in December to discuss ways to improve math performance in middle schools.

*Follow Keri Brown on Twitter @kerib_news.

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