Student Achievement Video

The Falloff in NAEP Math and Reading Scores, Explained

By Sarah D. Sparks & Jaclyn Borowski — October 27, 2022 3:13
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The pandemic took a huge bite out of 4th and 8th graders’ progress in reading and math, according to the 2022 results from the National Assessment of Educational Progress, also known as “the nation’s report card.”

It’s the first national assessment students have participated in since the pandemic began, and it revealed the steepest declines in student math scores since the federal testing program began in the early 1990s. In reading, students’ scores were knocked back by a decade or more.

Achievement dropped for all students: boys and girls; white, Black, and Hispanic students; students in poverty and wealthy students. And while top performers fared the best, struggling learners suffered the steepest declines.

The devastating portrait of student achievement painted by the results contrasts with parents’ view of how their children are doing in school. Ninety percent say their children are working at grade level or better.

Assistant Editor Sarah D. Sparks breaks down the latest findings and explains what makes the main NAEP assessment findings attention-worthy.

Sarah D. Sparks covers education research, data, and the science of learning for Education Week.
Jaclyn Borowski is the director of photography and videography for Education Week.

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