Published: Jan 25, 2011 8:28 PM EST
Updated: Jan 25, 2011 5:28 PM EST

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) - Results from a national exam show that less than half of Florida fourth and eighth grade students are proficient in science.

Science scores from the 2009 National Assessment of Educational Progress, known as the Nation's Report Card, were released on Tuesday. Florida's fourth grade students scored, on average, two points higher than the nationwide average, while eighth graders scored three points lower.

Just 32 percent of Florida fourth graders and 24 percent of eighth grade students scored at the proficient level, and no more than 1 percent reached the advanced range.

The results also show a stark achievement gap, with 68 percent of black eighth grade students scoring below basic skill levels, compared to 28 percent of whites.