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Iowa Fourth Graders' Vocabulary Test Scores Drop

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DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Officials say Iowa fourth-graders' vocabulary test scores dropped from 2009 to 2011 but still exceeded the national average in the assessment exam.

The Des Moines Register reports that only Indiana and Arkansas also posted similar declines on the fourth-graders' vocabulary portion of the National Assessment of Educational Progress reading exam.

Despite the dip in the vocabulary results, the Iowa students' scores on the reading test as a whole remained unchanged from 2009 to 2011.

Iowa Department of Education Director Jason Glass says the decline is troubling because vocabulary plays such a critical role in reading skills and comprehension. Glass says reading scores on the assessment exam have been flat since the early 1990s, "and these vocabulary scores show we're not moving in the right direction."

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