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Tuesday, February 27, 2024

13-year-olds lack 'basic skills' in reading, math as standardized test scores reach lowest in years: US data

Data from federal standardized test scores points to another startling effect the COVID-19 pandemic had on America’s children, with numbers indicating that reading and math scores for 13-year-olds dipped to their lowest rate in decades, showing no sign of post-pandemic recovery.

Scores by the National Center for Education Statistics – also known as the Nation’s Report Card – released Wednesday indicated math scores have reached their lowest rate since 1990 while reading scores dipped to the lowest since 2004, continuing the downward trend since the pandemic began in 2020.

Data indicated the students tested scored an average of 256 out of 500 in reading and a 271 out of 500 in math, compared to 260 in reading and 280 in math from just three years prior.

The New York Times acknowledged the startling message indicated Wednesday, saying the students fell short on the test that measures “basic skills.”

TEST SCORES IN CIVICS, HISTORY DECLINE FOR STUDENTS ACROSS THE UNITED STATES FOLLOWING THE PANDEMIC

Library book shelves

A Wednesday press release from the National Assessment of Educational Progress said fewer students are “reading for fun.” (iStock)

She added that the lowest-performing students received similar outcomes to students in the 1970s, when the data collection began, adding that the reading score was lower than data from the initial year, 1971.

Per the press release, the data looks at numbers collected between October and December 2022 and continued the downward spiral witnessed during the 2019-2020 school year as well.

“Middle school is a critical time for students—a time when they are maturing academically as well as socially and emotionally,” McGrath said in part, per the press release. “What happens for students in middle school can strongly influence their path through high school and beyond.” 

The report further detailed that fewer students are “reading for fun” and fewer are taking algebra. 

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