Even with the gains, well under half of the state's fourth- and eighth-graders are considered proficient in the subjects, and achievement gaps remain between white students and minority students.
The nation's report card, released Thursday by the National Assessment of Educational Progress, shows that 40 percent of New York fourth-grade students and 32 percent of eighth-grade students scored high enough to be considered proficient in math. In reading, 37 percent of fourth-grade students and 35 percent of eighth-grade students met that benchmark.
The percentage of white students who demonstrated solid academic performance was more than double that of black and Hispanic students across the board. Girls had better results than boys in reading, while boys did better than girls in math.
The findings are based on assessments given earlier this year and unrelated to the standardized math and English tests administered by the state each spring.
The last report card, in 2011, had 36 percent of New York fourth-graders and 30 percent of eighth-graders proficient in math, and 35 percent of both fourth- and eighth-graders proficient in reading.
New York's performance generally mirrors the national trend. The NAEP said overall scores showed some improvement among fourth- and eighth-grade students in math and among eighth-grade students in reading.
"I'm encouraged by the progress I've seen in classrooms around the state and the hard work educators are doing to help their students succeed," state Board of Regents Chancellor Merryl Tisch said. "But the NAEP results for New York students confirm what we already know: Our students are not where they should be. There's some growth, but scores are relatively flat and there is still an unacceptable achievement gap for minority students."
New York, along with most other states, have adopted more difficult Common Core learning standards meant to improve their readiness for college or a job after graduation.