The recent release of scores from the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) provided a jarring reminder of the pandemic’s impact on academic achievement. The U.S. Department of Education’s portrait of student proficiency in math and English language arts in fourth and eighth grades found declines in every state between 2019 and 2022. In two thirds of states, proficiency rates dropped in both subjects and in both tested grades.

And students in states that re-opened schools quickly during the pandemic often performed no better than those in states that stuck with remote learning longer. Hardest hit were eighth-grade math proficiency rates, which fell 8 percentage points as the raw test score saw its biggest drop in the history of the national testing program.

Though it’s difficult to make precise comparisons between NAEP and state-level standardized test results, the NAEP trends largely mirror the findings of a FutureEd analysis of the testing trends of the 42 states that have released results from spring 2022 and have scores that can be compared to previous years.

Nationally, 33 percent of fourth graders scored at the proficient or advanced levels on the 2022 NAEP reading assessment, down 2 percentage points from 2019. The share of proficient students also fell two points at the eighth-grade level, from 33 to 31 percent. That comes at reading scores at both grade levels dropped 3 points, leaving them not significantly different from 1992. The 2022 assessment, administered between January and March, included nearly 450,000 fourth and eighth graders in more than 10,000 schools. It relies on a representative sample of students in all states and some large cities, while state testing is intended to capture results from all students.

Read the full article about standardized test scores by Bella DiMarco at The 74.