Math, reading scores fall after COVID pandemic

Kassidy Taylor

COVID affected not only the health and well-being of people everywhere, but it also took a toll on the American education system. 

The National Center for Education Statistics conducted a national assessment to recognize long-term trends in reading and math for nine-year-old students from 2020 to 2022. 

Average scores for students fell by five points in math and seven points in reading. This is the largest average score decline in reading since 1990 and the first ever score decline in mathematics, according to NCES.

Students who may have already been struggling in school before 2020 especially struggled during the pandemic. In both subjects, scores for lower-performing students declined more than scores for higher-performing students.

The drastic drop in scores halted the progress made by the education system in the previous decades. 

The data from this study showcases the severity of the effects the COVID pandemic had on education. The decline in scores correlate with the lack of in-person classroom education during the pandemic. Most education institutions were forced to switch to a form of remote learning. 

Students struggled to gain access to the resources needed for a remote learning environment. Not all students had access to a desktop computer, laptop or tablet, and some did not have a quiet place to work.  

When schools were starting to provide in-person learning once again, there were still setbacks present. For instance, students and teachers often missed class time due to sickness or quarantines. 

All schools were able to successfully open this past school year, giving the students, teachers and institutions affected by the pandemic the opportunity to catch up and prosper.