Washington was one of 21 states where student performance exceeded the national average for fourth-graders, and one of 22 for eighth-graders.

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Washington fourth- and eighth-grade students scored higher than the national average on a federal science test in 2015.

In Washington, 42 percent of fourth-graders scored at or above proficient, compared with the national average of 37 percent. For eighth-grade students, the rate for those at or above proficient was 38 percent, 5 percentage points higher than the national average.

Washington was one of 21 states where student performance exceeded the national average for fourth-graders, and one of 22 for eighth-graders.

Washington’s students also scored higher than they did in 2009, the last time they took the test. In 2009, 35 percent of fourth-graders and 34 percent of eighth-graders scored at or above proficient

High-school seniors also took the test, but those scores aren’t available for each state. Nationally, 22 percent of seniors scored at or above proficient in 2015, which is about the same rate as 2009.

The tests are part of a series known as the National Assessment of Educational Progress, often referred to as the Nation’s Report Card. Students are rated basic, proficient or advanced. The test, which is given to a sample of students, was previously administered to a sample of students in all three grades in 2009, and for eighth-grade students in 2011. The test was last updated in 2009.

Overall, students with greater exposure to science scored higher than students with less. The test administrators also found that eighth-grade students who frequently participate in hands-on activities or investigations in their science classes scored 12 points higher than other students. Among high-school seniors, those who had access to scientific tools like microscopes or thermometers scored 37 points higher than students without access.

The science assessments covered three broad content areas: physical science, earth and space sciences, and life science.