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Post-COVID Math, Reading Proficiency Among US Students at Lowest Level in Over a Decade

Published: October 26, 2022
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National math scores across the US declined sharply since 2019, when the novel coronavirus pandemic began. (Image: NAEP)

America’s students have been set back more than 15 years in terms of their mathematics and basic literary skills, the latest results of nationwide testing among fourth- and eighth-graders show.

This year’s National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) yielded an eight-point drop in Grade 8 math performance since 2019, representing the lowest level since 2003 and the worst drop seen since the testing started in 1990. Math skills for fourth-graders was the lowest since 2005.

Forty-three states saw average scores drop since 2019, while scores stayed around the same in seven states. No states saw their students’ average math scores improve.

(Image: NAEP)

In addition, one-third of students in both grades 4 and 8 can’t read at the minimum required level, according to the NAEP test, which were administered this spring and the results of which were released on Oct. 24.

The reading level for eighth-graders was the worst going back to 1992.

NAEP scores, informally known as the “the nation’s report card,” are measured on a 0-500 scale. It is the sole national assessment program held by the Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics (NCES).