Middle School Math Scores Suffer Worse Drop in Half a Century
Math test scores for 13-year-old students have plummeted by the largest drop ever recorded in 50 years, according to a Wednesday report.
Between 2020 and 2023, 13-year-old students’ math scores dropped nine points and the students’ reading scores dropped four points, according to test data from the National Center for Education Statistics, better known as the “Nation’s Report Card.” The latest set of data demonstrates the learning loss students have suffered as a result of education disruptions, such as remote schooling, during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Students’ basic skills were disrupted in a way that we would not have thought before,” Peggy G. Carr, commissioner of the National Center for Education Statistics, said in a statement. “These data are clear on that point.”
The math test scores have dropped to their lowest level since 1990, according to the New York Times; the test has been administered since 1973. The 13-year-old students’ reading scores are at their lowest since 2004.
The decline in math scores was the largest in 50 years, according to an Axios analysis.
“The ‘green shoots’ of academic recovery that we had hoped to see have not materialized,” Carr said in a statement.
In 2022, civics scores saw their first ever decline in the area while just 13% of eighth graders tested proficiently in U.S. history, according to the Nation’s Report Card. From 2020 to 2022, K-12 reading levels fell back to levels last seen in the 1990s while math scores took their first ever dip.
School districts that stayed remote the longest during the COVID-19 pandemic, rather than returning to in-person learning, suffered the largest learning losses. Some school districts are expected to spend millions of dollars trying to make up for the learning loss.
The test used to gauge the students’ math and reading scores was administered to 8,700 students through November and December of 2022.
“The strongest advice I have is that we need to keep at it,” Carr said in a statement. “It is a long road ahead of us.”
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