Oct 25, 2022 - News

Colorado student test scores plummet on "nation's report card"

Average scores on the NAEP in Colorado
Data: The Nation's Report Card; Chart: Axios Visuals

Colorado students experienced significant learning loss from the pandemic and posted their lowest scores in more than a decade on a test considered "the nation's report card."

Driving the news: The National Assessment of Educational Progress test results released Monday show Colorado experienced the sharpest declines in math, our partners at Chalkbeat write.

  • Fourth-grade math proficiency fell from 44% of students in 2019 to 36% in 2022.
  • Eighth-grade math levels dropped from 37% to 28%.

BFD: That means only about 1 in 3 students in both grades understand basic math concepts.

Of note: Colorado reading scores held more steady with smaller declines for both grade levels.

The big picture: COVID-19 and the disruptions to learning resulted in historic setbacks and erased years of progress.

Be smart: The national assessment tests math and reading in fourth and eighth grade every two years among a random sample of students. Denver was one of the districts that participated in 2022.

  • Fourth-graders in Denver saw math proficiency decline from 35% in 2019 to 28%. Eighth-grade proficiency fell from 29% to 22%.

Between the lines: The new test results won't surprise many Colorado education leaders. Earlier this year, the state's students posted lower scores in most grades and subjects on statewide CMAS tests.

What to watch: Joyce Zurkowski, the Colorado Department of Education chief assessment officer, says "there are some indications that things are on the way back up. But there’s work to do."


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