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US Students Slacking in the Geography Department

Creatas/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Geography is more than just maps -- and the majority of U.S. students need to spend more time learning that.

That was made clear as the National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP) on Tuesday released the results of its Nation's Report Card: Geography 2010. According the the NAEP, about 30 percent of U.S. students scored at or above the "proficient" level in 2010.

"Geography is a rich and varied discipline that, now more than ever, is vital to understanding the connections between our global economy, environment and diverse cultures," said David P. Driscoll, chairman of the National Assessment Governing Board, which sets policy for NAEP.

Representative samples of nearly 7,000 fourth graders, 9,500 eighth graders and 10,000 12th graders were tested. While fourth graders showed improvement since 2001 -- the last time the test was administered -- eighth graders' scores remained flat, and 12th graders showed a decline from 1994.

The good news: scores for the lowest-performing students in grade 8 increased and test performance improved for black and Hispanic students in grades 4 and 8.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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