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The Nation's Report Card Shows Reading and Math Score Declines

Updated: May 1, 2023

The National Assessment of Educational Programs (NAEP reports that reading and mathematics scores declined during the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2022, the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) conducted a special assessment in both reading and mathematics for 9 year old students, to examine student achievement during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Average scores for age 9 students in 2022 declined 5 points in reading and 7 points in mathematics compared to 2020. This is the largest average score decline in reading since 1990, and the first ever score decline in mathematics. In both subjects, scores for lower-performing age 9 students declined more than scores for higher-performing students compared to 2020. In mathematics, the 13-point score decrease among Black students compared to the 5-point decrease among White students resulted in a widening of the White−Black score gap from 25 points in 2020 to 33 points in 2022.

Seventy percent of 9-year-old students recalled learning remotely during the last school year, while 19 percent reported they did not learn remotely, and 11 percent did not remember. Of the 70 percent of 9-year-olds who learned remotely during the 2020–21 school year, higher performers (those at or above the 75th percentile) had greater access to a desktop computer, laptop, or tablet all the time; a quiet place to work available some of the time; and a teacher available to help them with mathematics or reading schoolwork every day or almost every day compared to lower performers (those below the 25th percentile).

To learn more about the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on student progress, read NAEP Long-Term Trend Assessment Results: Reading and Mathematics.

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