Report: US Math and Reading Scores Dip Nationwide

On Monday, the results from the US National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), known as the "Nation's Report Card," were released in full for the first time since 2019.

Report: US Math and Reading Scores Dip Nationwide
Image credit: Glasshouse/Getty Stock Images [via US News & World Report]

Facts

  • On Monday, the results from the US National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), known as the "Nation's Report Card," were released in full for the first time since 2019.
  • The exams are conducted by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), a branch of the Education Department, and test fourth- and eighth-graders in math and reading. The report takes place every two years, however, was delayed from 2021 until 2022 due to the COVID pandemic.
  • The report showed the largest math score decline amongst fourth- and eighth-graders since the initial trial assessment in 1990, with no state or large urban district showing improvement.
  • Reading scores dipped by approximately 3 points in both grades, while Math scores dropped by 5 points in fourth grade (the lowest level since 2005) and 8 points in eighth grade (the lowest level since 2003).
  • While NCES commissioner Peggy Carr said the drop in math was expected due to COVID disruption, US Sec. of Education Miguel Cardona called the results "appalling and unacceptable," adding that how the US responds to the news "will determine not only our recovery but our nation's standing in the world."

Sources: NPR Online News, US News, CNN, WFDD, and WGCU News.

Narratives

  • Narrative A, as provided by Project Syndicate. Over-reacting to COVID was an educational, economic, and moral tragedy. Schools were closed for too long, and we are now dealing with the consequences. Schools should open on Saturdays and extend hours to get math and reading back to pre-pandemic levels. Undoing the damage of these awful decisions should begin immediately.
  • Narrative B, as provided by Bloomberg. The impact of COVID on the education system is undeniable, however, the school system has long been failing. Curriculum and school funding are becoming more polarized and politicized, enrolments in alternative schooling are increasing, and school violence and shootings are a real worry. There has been long-fuse a systemic failure that can't be pinned on COVID alone.