National student test scores in the Marshall Islands have been described as abysmal.
Last year's Marshall Islands Standard Achievement Test results were released last week and they show that the best average school test
score was 60 out of 100 in maths, 78 out of 100 in English, and 83 out of 100 in Marshallese.
But the Education Secretary, Biram Stege, said the most important question was not what the test scores were now, but where they were going.
The test scores, though poor, had improved slightly over 2005.
The government has, for the past three years, devoted more than 25 percent of its national budget to education.
The National planner, Carl Hacker said the lack of achievement in most public schools was a huge problem for future development.
High truancy and a lack of qualified teachers and administrators are
among the problems.
Government officials estimate that at least 10 percent of school age elementary students are not registered for school, and a study
at one of the country's largest public schools last year showed that 25
percent of the registered students were absent every day.