Math and Reading Scores Show Huge Drop

Math and reading scores for American 13-year-olds plunge to lowest levels in decades

If you thought that students were recovering from learning loss suffered during Covid, you’ll be disappointed to know that the setbacks are persisting.

Wednesday, June 21, the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) released test results from the most recent testing of 8,700 middle school students in each subject last October through December. The exam is designed to measure basic skills in math and reading. Most questions are multiple choice.

Average math scores fell by 9 points. The math scores are now at the lowest levels since 1990.

Reading scores fell by 4 points between 2020 and 2023. These scores are the lowest since 2004.

When asked about their reading habits, only 14% of the students say they read for pleasure daily, which is down from 27% in 2012. And almost a third say they never or hardly ever read for fun. Absenteeism has also increased, doubling since 2020, and this is troubling, given there is an established connection between absenteeism and test scores.

These latest results are alarming for a number of reasons. More than two years after most students returned to in-person class, there are still “worrisome signs about student achievement,” said Peggy G. Carr, commissioner of the National Center for Education Statistics, a branch of the federal Education Department.

“The ‘green shoots’ of academic recovery that we had hoped to see have not materialized,” Carr said in a statement.

These lingering effects of the pandemic setback are in spite of the billions of dollars that have been spent to help students catch up, including the expansion of tutoring programs, summer classes and other efforts. Commissioner Carr said “The strongest advice I have is that we need to keep at it. It is a long road ahead of us.”

Source: AP News

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