High school seniors in Iowa outperformed their peers in reading and mathematics on the National Assessment of Education Progress ( NAEP ) tests, according to a new report released last week by the U.S. Department of Education. Iowa was one of eleven states that volunteered to participate in the first 12th grade pilot program to generate state-level NAEP test results on high school seniors.

Iowa students in the Class of 2009 scored 291 in reading; the average national was 287. Iowa students scored 156 in mathematics; the average national score was 152.

Iowa’s graduation rate is among the top five in the country (CQ Press, 2010). Iowa consistently earns high marks among education experts including a top ten ranking for best education climate by Business Facilities Magazine. Iowa is also one of the smartest states in the nation with its students consistently outperforming their counterparts on national standardized tests.

Additionally, Iowa colleges and universities rank high in several national rankings including the U.S. News & World Report 2010 College Rankings, Kiplinger Magazine’s “Top 100 Public Universities for Value by Quality.” Iowa’s renowned universities are involved in cutting edge research that is shaping tomorrow’s technologies.