In this file photo, students take the Pennsylvania System of School Assessments exam.

Math continues to be a struggle for many Pennsylvania students, particularly those who are older, according to the latest standardized test scores. 

The state Department of Education this week released 2018 state-level data on the Pennsylvania System of School Assessment and Keystone Exams. School-level data should be released in November. 

Students have historically struggled the most on the math PSSA, and that continued this year as just 42 percent scored proficient or advanced. 

The proficiency rate among grade levels generally declined with age.

Third grade was at 54 percent; fourth grade, 44 percent; fifth grade, 45 percent; sixth grade, 40 percent; seventh grade, 39 percent; and eighth grade, 31 percent. 

A similar trend, despite consisting of fewer grade levels, occurred in science. 

Sixty-five percent of students — 76 percent in fourth grade, 54 percent in eighth grade — taking the science exam demonstrated proficiency. 

Meanwhile, 61 percent of students who took the English language arts exam scored proficient or advanced. 

The contrast wasn't as evident on the Keystone Exams taken by high school students. 

Proficiency rates for algebra, literature and biology were 65 percent, 73 percent and 64 percent, respectively. 

Both the PSSA and Keystone Exams are used as part of the state's accountability system under the federal Every Student Succeeds Act.

PSSAs in English language arts and math are administered in grades three through eight. Science PSSAs are administered in grades four through eight. 

Keystone Exams are end-of-course assessments designed to gauge proficiency in algebra, literature and biology. 

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