Conventional wisdom and popular perception hold that American students are falling further and further behind in science and math achievement. The statistics from this state tell a different story, The New York Times reports.  If Massachusetts were a country, its eighth graders would rank second in the world in science, behind only Singapore, according to Timss — the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study, which surveys knowledge and skills of fourth and eighth graders around the world. (The most recent version, in 2011, tested more than 600,000 students in 63 nations.)

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staff and wire services reports