On the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study, American fourth-graders earned 12th place out of 25 participating nations, while eighth-graders placed 20th out of 45 nations in that category. While heartened over the improving rank of eighth-graders, Deputy U.S. Education Secretary Eugene W. Hickock said the declining standings of fourth-graders shows that more improvement is needed in elementary schools' math and science instruction.

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