Scores in math and reading declined at the worst level in decades for students during the pandemic, according to a new assessment.
The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), also referred to as the “Nation’s Report Card,” released the report on tests administered to nine-year-old students nationwide this week.
“Average scores for age 9 students in 2022 declined 5 points in reading and 7 points in mathematics compared to 2020,” the report stated. “This is the largest average score decline in reading since 1990, and the first ever score decline in mathematics.”
The assessment compared reading and math scores from the winter of 2020 with the “results of long-term trend assessments in the winter of 2022.”
Black students were impacted more severely in math scores in comparison with white students, according to the assessment.
“In mathematics, the 13-point score decrease among Black students compared to the 5-point decrease among White students resulted in a widening of the White−Black score gap from 25 points in 2020 to 33 points in 2022,” the NAEP reported.
Reading scores dropped less in the comparison between pre-pandemic and post-pandemic assessments, though a decline was still detected.
Educational experts are concerned over the study and similar assessments that have revealed the pandemic’s impact on education, claiming the problem could cause decades-long problems for the nation. Peggy Carr, the commissioner of the National Center for Education Statistics that was involved in the study, expressed concerns ahead of the report’s release.
“There’s been much speculation about how shuttered schools and interrupted learning may have affected students’ opportunities to learn,” Carr wrote. “Our own data reveal the pandemic’s toll on education in other ways, including increases in students seeking mental health services, absenteeism, school violence and disruption, cyberbullying, and nationwide teacher and staff shortages.”
“I don’t think we can expect to see these 9-year-olds catch up by the time they leave high school,” Dr. Aaron Pallas, professor of Sociology and Education at Teachers College, Columbia University, told the Wall Street Journal about the report. “This is not something that is going to disappear quickly.”
The drop in scores also occurred despite record-level federal spending on education. A total of $122 billion was earmarked for K-12 schools as part of the American Rescue Plan alone.
Many states have yet to invest their portion of the federal government’s funding, according to the Wall Street Journal. Those that have are dedicating the funds to teachers, counselors, tutoring, and technology upgrades.
The Daily Wire reported in July that pandemic lockdowns and remote learning have led to long-term concerns regarding students, as rates of chronic absenteeism and other serious behavioral issues are rising.
A study by the National Center for Education Statistics found that 72% of public schools over the past year reported higher rates of chronic absenteeism, defined as a student who misses at least 15 school days a year.
A separate study by EdWeek Research Center found that absenteeism rates were significantly higher in schools that were completely remote during the 2020-21 school year than in schools with in-person learning.