Eighth-graders in Connecticut improved their reading scores significantly and fourth-graders held steady as the state posted some of the nation’s highest scores on results of a national test released Wednesday.

However, minority and low-income students continued to lag farther behind white and wealthier students than in most other states on fourth- and eighth-grade reading tests in the National Assessment of Educational Progress, also known as the Nation’s Report Card.

Forty-three percent of the state’s eighth-graders scored at or above the proficiency level, placing Connecticut among the nation’s highest-performing states.  That compares to a national average of 30 percent and is six percentage points higher than when Connecticut eighth-graders took the test in 2007.

On the fourth-grade test, 42 percent of Connecticut’s students scored at or above the proficiency level, compared with 32 percent nationwide. Only Massachusetts had a significantly higher percentage of students scoring at that level.

Despite some improvement in test scores among disadvantaged students, just 18 percent of the state’s low-income fourth-graders and eighth-graders met the proficiency standard, compared with 52 percent of fourth-graders and 51 percent of eighth-graders from wealthier families.

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