ST. PAUL (AP) - Minnesota's education commissioner is calling the results of a federal test known as the Nation's Report Card a wake-up call for the state.

Forty-three percent of Minnesota fourth graders scored proficient on the 2009 National Assessment of Educational Progress science test. For eighth graders, it was only 40 percent.

White Minnesota students significantly outperformed other groups. In fourth grade, 51 percent of white students were proficient while only 12 percent of black students scored as well.

The scores barely put Minnesota among the top third of states nationally. Commissioner Brenda Cassellius is calling the results "disappointing and troubling."

The exam tests knowledge and understanding of physical, life, Earth and space sciences.  Nationally, 34 percent of fourth-graders and 30 percent of eighth-graders scored at the proficient level or above.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)