ST. LOUIS — Newly released reports show that fewer than half of Missouri schoolchildren are performing at grade level in English and math.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education released 2019 test score data Thursday. It showed that 49% of students in the state's public and charter schools are proficient or advanced in English and 42% in math.

It was the second year students took a more difficult test that caused steep drops between 2017 and 2018. The state didn't release scores that determine the level of accreditation for a district.

The worst-performing district was Normandy in the St. Louis area. Only 15% of its students passed English and 7% math. The district has taken steps to boost scores, including opening an early childhood center.