The U.S. National Center for Education Statistics conducted a national assessment earlier this year to measure students’ academic status and capture a panorama of the country’s educational state in the post-pandemic context.
The results — called The Nation’s Report Card — have proven worrying for the authorities of the Department of Education.
The tests were completed between January and March, and student performance results showed the biggest decline in math grades since 1990.
The average score in mathematics, compared to the 2019 assessment, dropped by five points among 236 fourth-graders. For the 274 eighth-graders, the decline was eight points.
The examination was of a range of students from fourth through eighth grade and involved more than 50 states and jurisdictions.
“The average math score of 236 for the fourth grade was 5 points lower than in 2019 and 8 points below the 2019 mark of 274 for eighth grade. The reading score of 217 for fourth grade is down 3 points this year, the same decrease as the eighth-grade score of 260, compared to 2019.
The disappointing results come more than a month after the national assessment released results showing math and reading scores for 9-year-olds, usually, fourth-graders fell between 2020 and 2022 to a level not seen in decades.”
The results prompted a call from US Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona insisting that educational institutions use the COVID-package resources approved in 2021 to improve student performance — because that’s why the funds were granted.
The report showed how much the pandemic affected education and revealed that there are more vulnerable sectors. That meant the gap between white students’ performance compared to other demographic groups increased considerably. CNN continues:
Scores on the eighth-grade math exams declined across most racial and ethnic groups as well as for lower, middle and high performing students. Fourth-grade math scores dropped for all racial and ethnic groups except native Hawaiian-Pacific Islanders.
The gaps between White students and Black and Hispanic students were larger in 2022 than three years ago, with greater score declines in math for Black and Hispanic students further widening those gaps.
“What we’re seeing is (lower performing) students … dropping even faster and we’re also seeing students who were not showing declines – students at the top, meaning students at the higher performing levels – they were holding steady before the pandemic or even improving,” Carr said. “Now all the students, regardless of their ability, are dropping. That is the point we need to be taking away from this report.”
Read the full report here.