Oct 26, 2022 - News

Test scores at Dallas schools steady amid national drop

The Nation's Report Card; Chart: Axios Visuals

Dallas ISD was one of the only urban school districts in the country that didn't have significant drops in fourth grade math or reading scores since the COVID pandemic began, according to the latest results from the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP).

Why it matters: The education world has waited nervously for the first NAEP release, also known as The Nation's Report Card, since COVID started. Scores released this week show evidence of severe learning loss, especially in math, per The 74, which covers education issues.

  • The national average score declines in mathematics for fourth and eighth graders were the largest ever recorded in that subject.

Context: The pandemic erased decades of academic progress and widened racial disparities, AP reports.

The big picture: Reading scores dropped to 1992 levels. Nearly four in 10 eighth graders nationwide failed to grasp basic math concepts.

Zoom in: Dallas was one of only three districts where average scores for fourth grade mathematics didn't change. The others are Austin and Hillsborough County in Florida. Fourth grade mathematics scores declined for the other 23 participating urban districts.

  • Average scores for fourth grade reading held steady in most urban districts, including both Fort Worth and Dallas.
  • Eighth grade reading scores also held steady in most of the participating districts, including Dallas, Fort Worth and Houston.

By the numbers: Overall, Texas scores declined across the board since the last assessment in 2019.

  • Scores in fourth grade math dropped by 5 points.
  • Scores in eighth grade math dropped 7 points.
  • Fourth grade reading scores went down 2 points.
  • Eighth grade reading scores in Texas saw the smallest drop, only 1 point.
  • A 10-point gain or drop is equivalent to roughly a year of learning, researchers say.

Between the lines: It's not clear yet why scores in Dallas didn't mirror national or statewide declines.

Yes, but: Dallas ISD Superintendent Stephanie Elizalde called the results "a baseline from which we can continue to work to improve and lift up our students."

  • She credited the school board and the work of teachers, principals, auxiliary staff and parents.

What's next: The "devastating" findings "raise significant questions about where the country goes from here," the New York Times reports.


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