Utah students made slight gains in their 2008 end-of-level exams, compared to last year, according to data released Friday by the Utah State Office of Education.

The Criterion-Referenced Test is taken by Utah students at the end of the school year. It helps teachers see where the students are academically and determine what programs are working.

CRT data is used for the federal mandate No Child Left Behind. USOE officials plan to release NCLB's Adequate Yearly Progress reports later this month.

USOE officials are analyzing the CRT data and plan to let educators know what areas need attention, said Deborah Swenson, USOE assessment director.

"We go back and see why the changes may have happened so we can better inform," Swenson said.

The CRT data is broken down into categories of percentage of students who are proficient.

For language arts, 77.99 percent of students were proficient in spring 2007. In spring 2008, a total of 78.22 percent of students were proficient.

In math, 70.56 percent of kids were proficient last year while 71.42 percent were proficient this year. In science, 64.57 percent were proficient at the end of 2007 and 64.83 percent were proficient at the end of 2008.

Fifth-graders improved greatly in science. Seventh- and ninth-graders jumped significantly in math, according to the CRT data.

Looking at five years of CRT data, from spring 2004 to spring 2008, numbers went from 76.37 percent of students proficient to 78.22 percent proficient in language arts; 70.11 percent to 71.42 percent in math; and 60.39 percent to 64.83 percent in science, the data show.

Hispanic students are making somewhat steady gains in each of the three subjects but still lag behind Caucasian students, according to the data. Asian students are slightly behind Caucasian students in language arts, even more behind in science but are a bit ahead in math, the data show.

Female students remain well ahead of male students in language arts. The girls almost match the boys in math and are somewhat lagging in science, according to the data.

To view the full 2008 CRT data report, go to www.schools.utah.gov/assessment/reports.aspx.

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