Mixed bag when US exam scores compared globally

WASHINGTON (AP) -- A new study of eighth grade student skills in math and science suggests that U.S. student performance depends a lot on what state they're in.

Overall, most states performed above the international average.

Massachusetts was the top performer, but it still lagged behind some Asian countries in terms of overall exam scores and the number of high achievers.

Mississippi, Alabama and the District of Columbia scored below the international average on both exams, on par with Kazakhstan and Dubai, United Arab Emirates. West Virginia, Oklahoma and Tennessee students lagged in math.

The study included every state, the District of Columbia and Defense Department schools. Some countries, including China, India, France and Germany, did not participate.

Jack Buckley, commissioner of the Education Department's National Center for Education Statistics, which released the study, says the results contain enough positives and negatives for defenders and critics of U.S. education.

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