A new report shows that mathematics and reading scores of fourth and eighth grade students have declined since 2019. The 1990s saw the biggest drop in math scores since the initial assessment and meanwhile the lowest reading scores in three decades,
The 2022 National Assessment of Educational Progress also found that nearly four out of 10 eighth graders failed to grasp basic math concepts and only one in three achieved proficiency standards.
In addition, 25% of fourth graders performed below the NAEP basic math level in 2022 – the highest percentage since 2003; And 37% of public school students in fourth grade also tested below the basic reading level of the NAEP.
Average fourth grade math scores have declined in 23 of the 26 urban districts surveyed, down from four to 15 points since 2019. Fourth grade reading scores declined in nine of those 26 districts. Those drops ranged from six to 16 points.
“The consequences are dire,” said Peggy Carr, commissioner of the National Center for Education Statistics.
The results also showed that black and Hispanic students lagged more than their white and Asian peers, and girls declined faster than boys.
“Well, we don’t know exactly, but we think it has nothing to do with socialization. Girls need a social context,” Carr said, explaining why girls fell sharply. “And they may have been affected differently by being isolated during this time.”
Carr said that, while schools should focus on raising math scores, parents can help their children make up lost ground by studying together.
“The message to parents is that this is serious,” Carr said. “It will move all the hands on the deck and they are one of those hands.”