Some surprisingly good data on the NAEP 12th grade reading test:
Reading scores for the nation's 12th-grade students have increased somewhat since they dropped to a historic low in 2005, according to results of the largest federal test, released Thursday. Average math scores also ticked upward.
Experts said the increases, after years of dismal achievement reports, were surprising because every year the nation's schools are educating more black and Hispanic students, who on average score lower than whites and Asians.
The black-white achievement gap dates back more than a century, though researchers debate why it persists. Researchers presume that language barriers pull down scores for Hispanics.
"It's very good news because you have scores going up despite a demographic trend that pulls scores down," said Grover J. Whitehurst, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution who directed the Department of Education's research division in the Bush administration.