School’s Find National Test Scores Take A Plunge As A Result Of The Pandemic

Due to the lack of in classroom learning and having to switch to online teaching, most elementary schools are finding that because of the pandemic that math and reading scores have plummeted to its lowest level in over a decade.

The exams were conducted by the National Assessment of Educational Progress to 9-year-olds in early 2020 and then again in early 2022. 

The National Assessment of Educational Progress released a report on Thursday that much of the decline spanned across many different regions, races, sex and income level. 

The report also found that students who attended schools within towns and suburban areas held the biggest drops in both math and reading scores. Each category fell nearly nine points in math and eight points in reading in suburban schools.

On the other hand, the students that attended school in towns fell seven points in math and nine in reading.

Students who attended school within rural areas dropped just five points in each subject.

Researchers believe access to technology and academic support during remote schooling can help explain the divide, with higher-performing students in the 75th percentile nearly two-thirds as likely to have access to computers, high-speed internet, a quiet place to work and a teacher available to help with schoolwork than lower-performing students in the 25th percentile,” according to Forbes.

On average in 2022, the test scores declined 5 points in reading and 7 points in math which was noted as the largest decline in reading since 1990 and the first ever decline in math.

In an interview with CNN, US Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona stated that he believed that the drop in scores was due to the lack of in-person teaching and that the US is currently in an education crisis.

“That is very alarming. It’s disturbing. But it’s not surprising, keeping in mind a year and a half ago over half of our schools were not open for full-time learning,” said Cardona.

Throughout the pandemic, many schools put a hold on standardized testing. With the recent testing that was conducted, it showed how the learning disruptions from the pandemic affected the students.

“I don’t think we can expect to see these 9-year-olds catch up by the time they leave high school. This is not something that is going to disappear quickly.”

All of the students who participated within the assessment were asked if they attended school from home or somewhere else outside of the classroom due to the pandemic.

70% of the 9-year-old participants mentioned that they did learn remotely over the 2020-2021 school year, 19% of the participants stated that they didn’t learn remotely and the other 11% couldn’t recall how they learned over the course of the school year. 

Remote learning became a disadvantage to any and all students due to being removed from the in-person setting. 

However, researchers have found that the students that were able to use high-quality educational technology at home were able to overcome the hurdle of remote learning to those who didn’t.

The students weren’t just struggling with remote learning, but once they did return to the classroom, when a fellow student or teacher came down with COVID the disruptions still continued.

The report also showed that those students who were already falling behind started struggling even more with their math score falling by up to 12 points and reading scores up to 10 points.

“These are some of the largest declines we have observed in a single assessment cycle in 50 years of the NAEP program,” said acting NCES Associate Commissioner Daniel McGrath.

“Students in 2022 are performing at a level last seen two decades ago.”

The blame isn’t just on the pandemic, other issues inside the classroom can cause the learning disruption that the students have experienced. 

“School shootings, violence, and classroom disruptions are up, as are teacher and staff vacancies, absenteeism, cyberbullying, and students’ use of mental health services. This information provides some important context for the results we’re seeing from the long-term trend assessment,” said Peggy Carr, commissioner of the National Center for Education Statistics. 

Over the course of the pandemic, the federal government provided $190 billion to schools to help them stay open while also addressing the learning loss, mental-health issues and other problems that were all a result.