Post-Pandemic Reading, Math Scores Hit Lowest Point In Decades

Students continue to struggle more than three years after COVID-19 hit. Post-Pandemic Reading, Math Scores Hit Lowest Point In Decades Giphy

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It’s been more than three years since COVID-19 resulted in widespread school closures and a sharp spike in absences due to the global health crisis. But we’re just now starting to get a full picture of the toll that these disruptions have had on learning.

From 10 to 13

Today’s 13-year-old students were 10 when the pandemic uprooted everything they had come to expect about going to school. And in the years since then, things have yet to entirely return to normal.

According to a report released this week, these young teens have been particularly hard hit by COVID-related learning loss. It provided a bleak overview of the competency these kids currently have in critical subjects.

  • Math scores fell by 9 points on average between 2020 and 2023.
  • Average reading scores dropped by 4 points during the same period.
  • Math was at its lowest level since 1990 and reading hit a near 20-year low.

What experts are saying

Although both math and reading scores had been increasing prior to the pandemic, the troubling trend over the past three years clearly requires some intervention.

National Center for Economic Statistics Commissioner Peggy G. Carr said that industry leaders hoped to see “green shoots of academic recovery” after in-person education resumed. That has not been the case, however, and she acknowledged that “worrisome signs about student achievement” need to be addressed.

Focusing on the positive news might be helpful in the long run. For example, students who miss the least amount of school tended to perform better on tests. That might sound like a no-brainer, but with absences increasing in recent years it emphasizes the importance of attendance.

Carr said: “The strongest advice I have is that we need to keep at it. It is a long road ahead of us.”

Chris Agee
Chris Agee June 22nd, 2023
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