Education is regarded as extremely important in South Dakota. Over the last several years, more than $14 million has been committed to the states four technical institutions. Students math scores have risen in the past two years and both age groups have scored higher than the 80th percentile in math basic skills. (Fourth grade students were at 86% and eighth grade students were at 80%). Reading scores have risen in lower grade levels, but have remained the same at the 8th grade level (4th grade 69% in 2003, 70% in 2005, 8th grade at 82% proficiency in 2003 and 2005).