Today the Commissioner of the National Center for Education Statistics released the math and reading results of 9-year-olds (4th graders) from the 2022 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP)–the first nationally representative report comparing student achievement from before the pandemic to now, and it was as predicted–an absolute disaster, reflecting unprecedented declines on the long term trends tests that have become known as “The Nation’s Report Card”.
The reported results represent the largest drop in reading scores in 32 years and the first decline in math scores since the testing began in 1971. Scores in both subjects are now at their lowest levels since the 1990s, and they are particularly worrisome since 4th grade is a pivotal point in a child’s educational progress. In fact, Dr. Aaron Pallas of Teachers College, Columbia University had this to say: “I don’t think we can expect to see these 9-year-olds catch up by the time they leave high school. This is not something that is going to disappear quickly.” The NAEP will release a more complete set of assessment results, including 8th and 12th grade reports, later this year.
The NCES Commissioner noted that “COVID-19 disruptions may have exacerbated many of the challenges we were already facing” and she and others suggested at least some blame on the part of lockdowns, quarantines, and school closings. She is being overly generous in this criticism. The unwarranted lockdowns and school closings imposed on the schools and these children over the pandemic period were nothing less than unconscionable child abuse dictated by so-called medical experts, school boards, administrators, and in particular self-serving teacher unions, and they should be ashamed for what they have done to these kids.