Tuesday, December 5, 2023
HomeEducationNew Federal Achievement Data Shows Students Face Grim Trajectory

New Federal Achievement Data Shows Students Face Grim Trajectory

Key Highlights

  • New federal achievement data is the first comparing academic achievement from before the coronavirus pandemic to now.
  • New federal achievement data shows unprecedented drops in math and reading scores and the most significant setbacks for students in more than half a century.

Daniel McGrath, the acting associate commissioner of the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), the Education Department’s research arm, said that these are some of the most significant declines they have noticed in a single assessment cycle in 50 years. In 2022, students are performing at a level last seen two decades ago.

Declines in math and reading hardly come as a surprise given the significant academic setbacks that have been widely documented due to interrupted learning during the coronavirus pandemic.

But the results from the National Assessment of Educational Progress, the first and only report with a nationally representative sample of students, confirm many school leaders’ worst fears and highlight how devastating school disruptions have been, especially for those already the furthest behind.

NCES Commissioner Peggy Carr said that NCES continued and enhanced other data collections on education challenges during the pandemic, and they paint a sobering picture. The information provides some critical context for the results they see from the long-term trend assessment.

Average math scores decreased by 7 points since 2020, with the lowest performing students posting a 12-point decline compared to the highest-achieving students, who displayed just a 3-point decline.

Meanwhile, average reading scores for 9-year-olds decreased by 5 points from 2020 to 2022, with the lowest performing students displaying a 10-point decline compared to the highest achieving students, who posted just a 2-point decline.

Miguel Cardona, Education Secretary, said the results highlight what school teachers, leaders, and families experienced over the last two years.

Later in 2022, NCES will release a more comprehensive look at student achievement when it releases the so-called Nation’s Report Card, which highlights math and reading results for students in grades four and eight across the country and in 26 urban school districts.

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