National test scores show sharp drop in reading, math scores among students after COVID lockdowns

Reading scores declined for the first time in over 30 years; math scores declined for the first time ever.

Updated: September 1, 2022 - 11:22am

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Testing scores for young students around the country have plummeted sharply following the drawn-out disruptions caused by COVID-19 mitigation policies, with school shutdowns, "remote" learning and in-person viral abatement policies being cited for the drop. 

The National Center for Education Statistics this week released the results of its 2022 "special administration" of the National Assessment of Educational Progress, what is popularly known as "the Nation's Report Card." The congressionally mandated assessment test has been conducted roughly every two years since 1969.

The NCES said in a press release this week that this year's test showed "average scores for age 9 students in 2022 declined 5 points in reading and 7 points in mathematics compared to 2020."

"This is the largest average score decline in reading since 1990, and the first ever score decline in mathematics," the agency said. 

The drop in scores comes after protracted anti-COVID measures implemented at schools across the country, with many schools closing in early 2020 and relegating students to indefinite "remote learning" and others re-opening with cumbersome viral mitigation rules and policies. 

Experts and critics have been warning of the potential damages such measures will likely have on student education, though hard numbers demonstrating the effects of those rules are only just becoming available now.