PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — New results of a standardized test give a mixed picture of improvements in science scores in Rhode Island's schools and show just 34 percent of the students tested scored 'proficient' or better.

The state Department of Education released this year's science results for the New England Common Assessment Program on Monday.

The test was conducted for grades 4, 8 and 11.

Results showed slight improvement in 8th graders' scores, with 30 percent testing proficient or better. But the percentage of 4th graders who were proficient or better fell five points to 41 percent, and the number of high school juniors scoring at least proficient fell slightly to 30 percent.

Education Commissioner Deborah Gist says there is overall improvement since 2008, although it's not as fast as she'd like.

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