ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) _ Student math test scores continue to decline in Minnesota.

During the most recent school year, the number of Minnesota students considered proficient in math dropped for the fourth consecutive year. Only 53.9 percent of students met or exceeded state standards for math proficiency in 2019. In 2016, nearly 60 percent of Minnesota students met or exceeded those standards.

The Minnesota Department of Education reports Thursday that reading scores have remained steady. Just over 58 percent of Minnesota students met state standards for reading proficiency this year, down slightly from about 59 percent last year.

Education Commissioner Mary Cathryn Ricker cautions against focusing too much on negative numbers.

But reports say the new figures show Minnesota continues to struggle to close the achievement gaps among various student groups.