MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WIAT) — While nationally, states saw the largest decline in 4th grade math scores since 1990, Alabama saw an increase, climbing out of its dead last ranking in math.

That’s according to the 2022 National Assessment of Educational Progress report out Monday morning. The test is taken every other year across the country. Prior to its administration early this year, it was last taken in 2019, due to the pandemic.

The report shows Alabama 4th graders improved in both math and reading.

“These charts tell the story that Alabama’s teachers are doing the right work and are on the right path forward,” State Superintendent of Education Eric Mackey said.

The state’s ranking in 4th grade math went from 52nd to 40th, and in reading from 49th to 39th. Both subjects saw small gains in scores.

Scores for 8th graders however, dropped in both subjects, but because other states fared worse, Alabama moved up from 52nd to 47th in math, and stayed steady at 49th in reading.

“It was something we were afraid might come out of those results for those eighth graders, and it did, and that’s just something that tells us what we have to focus on in high schools,” Mackey said.

Mackey attributes the overall climb to the state’s push for in-person instruction during the pandemic.

“We’ve made sure that our students got back in the classroom as quickly and safely as possible. There is nothing more important than having a teacher in front of a student in a classroom,” Mackey said.

Mackey points to the Literacy Act’s implementation of reading coaches across the state as a factor in the rise in reading scores.

He’s hopeful that the newly passed Numeracy Act, which will implement math coaches and other measures, will show future improvements in that subject.

Even with these results, the state still ranks below the national average in reading and math scores, but Mackey says it’s a positive step forward.

The next round of NAEP tests will be given in 2024.