National Test Data Hammers Home How Badly Adults Have Failed Kids

The COVID-19 pandemic has not been kind to America’s students, and new  test results  put a spotlight on a stark learning loss problem. 

The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) looked at trends in 4th-grade National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) scores, also known as the Nation’s Report Card. The news is bad. Like, really bad.

Two decades of growth have been swept away by coronavirus disruptions.

What happened over the last two years sent fourth-graders' skills back to the early 1990s. Not good.

Math scores dropped seven points, the first time math scores have ever gone down, per the Washington Post. Reading scores didn’t fare much better.

The 74 has more

The picture it offers is bleak. In a special data collection combining scores from early 2020, just before schools began to close, with additional results from the winter of 2022, the report shows average long-term math performance falling for the first time ever; in reading, scores saw the biggest drop in 30 years. And in another familiar development, the declines were much larger for students at lower performance levels, widening already-huge learning disparities between the country’s high- and low-achievers.

Ed Post Editorial Partner Maureen Kelleher put together a thread on Twitter to get into it. 

Screen Shot 2022-09-01 at 4.36.01 PM

Screen Shot 2022-09-01 at 4.36.19 PM

Screen Shot 2022-09-01 at 4.36.29 PM


What Now?

What are the folks in schools and districts around the country doing TODAY to support and accelerate kids' learning? Where's the one-to-one tutoring? Where's the chance to show and grow what they know?

Emotional support helps, but it’s not academic support. Kids deserve both. In fact, in the most successful schools, they work hand-in-hand.

You Can Speak Out for Change

If your district isn’t getting the job done academically, that must change. 

But it won’t change if ordinary people stay silent. What’s your vision? Do you want to see schools accelerate, not remediate kids? Do you want more access to exciting STEM programs? 

Where there is no vision, the people perish. Visionary school leadership has been hard to find since long before 2020, and it’s still in short supply.

But if we demand better, leaders will step up. It’s time to speak out.

Rob Samuelson
Rob Samuelson is a Staff Writer at Education Post and Digital Media Manager for the brightbeam network.

Join the Movement

Read more about