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U.S. Student Test Scores Reveal the Impact of Pandemic Lockdowns on Education

According to the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), math test scores experienced their greatest decline on record

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UNITED STATES: National exam results released on Monday revealed that U.S. schoolchildren have seen historic learning losses, with math and reading scores plummeting to their lowest levels since before the COVID-19 pandemic. This is the latest indication of the harm school closures have caused to youngsters.

According to the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), often known as the “Nation’s Report Card,” math test scores experienced their greatest decline on record, a trend that was seen in nearly all states in the United States and in virtually all demographic categories.

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Between January and March 2022, the exams were given to fourth- and eighth-grade student samples from across the country.

The majority of jurisdictions saw a fall in reading scores, though not as sharply as in math. Results showed a seven percentage point decline in eighth-graders arithmetic competence scores from 2019 to this year. Reading ability dropped by two points.

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Since the start of the pandemic, this test is regarded as the first thorough, national assessment of student achievement. Similar declines in reading and math scores have been observed in earlier research following the closure of classrooms for “remote learning” online by political figures and school systems.

High performers had more regular access to a computer, a quiet workplace, and extra support from their teachers among pupils who were left at home during the 2020–2021 academic year, according to NAEP.

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According to NAEP, eighth-graders who performed better than their less-successful friends reported taking part in more real-time video sessions with their teachers.

Since the test was lastly proctored in 2019, minority kids’ test scores fell the most precipitously, and performance gaps between white students and their Black and Hispanic counterparts have grown.

On Sunday night, California released a different study that revealed pupils there had experienced a similar decrease in reading and math results, but to a smaller extent. Before the epidemic, however, California schoolchildren scored worse than the nation as a whole.

The test results, according to U.S. Education Secretary Miguel Cardona, were “appalling,” but they also served as a call to action.

State governors and local officials were mostly responsible for enforcing pandemic lockdowns. Under either the Trump or Biden administrations, the U.S. government did not demand the closure of all schools countrywide.

Also Read: Conflicts over Race and Gender Stoke Vote by Texas’s School Board

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