COVID-19 impacts reading, math scores of U.S. schoolchildren

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected fourth- and eighth-grade students in most U.S. states as data shows a decline in their math and reading skills and widening disparities between students of different races. 

These findings were revealed in the latest National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) released by the the National Center for Education Statistics, which is part of the U.S. Department of Education's Institute of Education Sciences.

This year, reading scores for students in fourth and eighth grades declined for most states/jurisdictions, with the average score in both grades decreasing by three points compared to the 2019 figures, getting closer to the scores in 1992, according to the NAEP.

In comparison with 2019, the average math scores of fourth-grade students this year dropped by five points, hitting the lowest since 2005, while the average math scores in grade eight declined by eight points, reaching to the lowest since 2003, a separate assessment on math showed. 

Black and Hispanic students, who started out behind their white and Asian peers, experienced sharper declines than those groups in fourth-grade math, the assessment found. 

In a report published on Monday, the New York Times attributed the deepened divide to the phenomenon that Black and Hispanic students are more likely to attend schools segregated in poverty and those schools stayed remote for longer than wealthier schools did during COVID-19.

(Cover via CFP)

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