RICHMOND, Va. (AP) -- A U.S. Education Department analysis says Virginia students have bigger vocabularies and better comprehension skills than their peers across the country.
The first-of-its-kind rankings were based on scores of fourth and eighth graders on the 2011 National Assessment of Education Progress.
Virginia education officials say the state's fourth-grade students ranked second only to Massachusetts on the national reading tests taken every two years by samples of students.
Virginia's eighth graders were ranked behind Massachusetts, Connecticut and Montana.
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Patricia Wright says the results are further proof of the quality and rigor of Virginia's Standards of Learning. She also said that revised reading standards and test being implemented this year place increased emphasis on vocabulary and comprehension.