Test scores across U.S. reveal ‘heartbreaking’ pandemic declines, with math hit hard
For the first time, a comprehensive survey of education experts, parents and students by researchers at MEC has revealed troubling declines in student performance over the past five years.
Overall, scores on the National Assessment of Educational Progress have fallen from 2016 to 2018, with the exception of math, which was only a modest improvement, according to the annual National Assessment of Educational Progress — or NAEP — which was released on Friday.
“These findings are heartbreaking and reveal that the nation faces a steep decline in educational attainment,” said MEC President and CEO Jeffery J. Selingo, who noted that the drop in scores from 2016 to 2018 was bigger than the decline from 2016 to 2015.
But many experts and others in the field are pointing to the need for much more, not less, investment, to help make college accessible and affordable to students.
At the same time, other experts — including Education Secretary Betsy DeVos — have been pushing for more testing of new and existing public education programs as part of an ongoing, long-term effort to improve college readiness.
As the report shows, though, the drop in NAEP scores is not entirely unexpected. In 2008, when the assessment was last updated, for example, scores were on the rise.
But, “this is the first time that we have a look at what, as a whole, is happening in education and it is heartening to see some of the progress that has occurred,” said Selingo, who led the development of the assessment. “However, we also see some troubling findings.”
For example, there is a significant drop in NAEP math scores since 2016. While in 2015, math scores for all students improved slightly, in 2017 and 2018, there was “a sharp drop” across the board, according to the report.
The most recent NAEP data for math was collected between March and June 2018 while the previous assessment was administered between October 2016 and March 2017. In another measure of progress, a recent MEC study showed that more than one in three American