Geography Report Card: How in the World Are U.S. Students Doing? (Notebook: Education Information from Schools, Business, Research and Professional Organizations)

Article excerpt

U.S. students, overall, know slightly more about geography than they did eight years ago, according to the latest study. The Nation's Report Card: Geography 2001 reveals that fourth- and eighth-grade student scores edged up slightly, but performance for 12th graders was flat.

White students scored highest in the three grade levels tested, edging out Asian and Pacific Islander students. American Indian students ranked third, while Hispanic students scored second-to-last and black students had the lowest scores. But some good news was reflected in minority students' performance. Scores for black fourth and eighth graders jumped by 13 and five points, respectively, since the last geography test conducted in 1994.

Boys scored only slightly higher than girls in all three grade levels tested.

Notably, fourth, eighth and 12th graders who used the Internet to a "large extent" in their geography studies scored almost 20 points higher than those who didn't.

"It is especially good news that the achievement gap narrowed significantly between African-American fourth graders and their white peers," says U. …