INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The scores from the most recent National Assessment of Educational Progress — also called the “Nation’s Report Card” — are out and results show the COVID-19 pandemic caused historic learning setbacks for American children. Across the country, math scores saw their largest decreases ever. Reading scores dropped to 1992 levels. Nearly four in 10 eighth graders failed to grasp basic math concepts. Not a single state saw a notable improvement in their average test scores, with some simply treading water at best.
Here in Indiana, the assessment shows students outperformed their peers nationally in math, with 40% of fourth graders and 30% of eighth graders scoring at or above proficiency. In addition, reading levels match the national average, with 33% of Indiana’s fourth graders and 31% of the state’s eighth graders marked proficient or better.
“Beginning in about 2015 our 4th grade students, we’ve seen a decline. Which is significant reason and urgency do everything we can to make sure all of our children in Indiana can read by the end of 3rd grade,” said Indiana Secretary of Education, Dr. Katie Jenner.
Dr. Jenner said as a state, Indiana needs to move as quickly as possible to get kids up to date with key math and reading skills.
“Our educators and communities did a really good job overall of getting students back in person as quickly as possible, and not only that, keeping students in person,” Dr. Jenner said.
Sarah Lubienski, an associate dean at IU’s School of Education weighed in on the issue.
She said several months of schooling has been loss due to the pandemic.
“Decline in scores in some sense represents how important good teachers are and that we just need to make sure that students do get time with good teachers to help us get out of this. [There were] slips in reading for example three points in the U.S. but five points in Indiana at each grade level, but math was down seven points. So there’s a little bit more slippage in mathematics than in reading,” Lubinski said.
The Indiana Department of Education has launched several initiatives to help support Hoosier students and educators. The state and the Lilly Endowment are investing $111 million to support early literacy for Hoosier students, and a statewide tutoring program in math and English is also available.