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Nationwide test scores indicate pandemic had a significant impact on learning

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Nationwide test scores reported last week showed the enormity of the negative impact the COVID-19 pandemic had on students, who have spent the last two years being shuffled between in-person and virtual learning.

The test scores, reported and studied by the National Assessment of Educational Progress, showed that students’ scores between 2019 and 2022 declined sharply in all areas.

The scores supported a previous study which reported “preliminary evidence from earlier in the 2021–22 school year shows that an increasing number of K–2  students were at risk for persistent reading difficulties.”

The study, which focused on students who were in first and second grade during the pandemic, also showed “reading and math achievement in first and second grade remains substantially lower in spring 2022 relative to historical data.” 

According to the press release from NAEP, “national average score declines in mathematics for fourth- and eighth-graders were the largest ever recorded in that subject.”

The organization also pointed out “There were no improvements in mathematics in any state or large urban district, and eighth-grade mathematics scores declined in 51 participating states and jurisdictions since the assessment was last given in 2019, the year prior to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States.”

NCES Commissioner Peggy G. Carr said of the scores, “The results show the profound toll on student learning during the pandemic, as the size and scope of the declines are the largest ever in mathematics.”

Carr added, “The results also underscore the importance of instruction and the role of schools in both students’ academic growth and their overall wellbeing. It’s clear we all need to come together—policymakers and community leaders at every level—as partners in helping our educators, children, and families succeed.”

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