Oct 28, 2022 - News

Washington test scores fall, reflecting national trends

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

Math and reading scores for Washington students are down from pre-pandemic times — but our kids' struggles roughly mirror those of others around the country, new data shows.

Driving the news: The National Assessment of Educational Progress, often referred to as the "nation's report card," came out this week, showing the largest decline ever recorded in math scores among U.S. fourth and eighth graders.

Zoom in: In Washington, math scores for eighth graders were the lowest they've been since 2000., while fourth graders' math scores were similarly lower than they've been in at least 20 years.

  • Reading scores fell for both age groups, too, with Washington eighth graders scoring their lowest since the 1990s.

By the numbers: Only 35% of fourth graders and 28% of eighth graders in Washington met proficiency standards in math. About one-third scored as proficient or better in reading.

Yes, but: Washington's numbers were the same or better than the national averages.

What they're saying: The results "show that students in every state were impacted by the pandemic," wrote Katy Payne, a spokesperson for Washington's Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction, in an email to Axios.

  • She noted that, despite the struggles, eighth grade math scores in Washington were higher this year than the national average.
  • Plus, separate state testing data indicates "that our students are already showing signs of recovery," Payne added.
  • "We are encouraged by the progress we are seeing," she wrote.

What we're watching: How school districts in Washington will use unspent federal recovery dollars to try to address learning gaps.

  • As of September, districts had claimed only part of the federal relief money available to them for that purpose, according to a state website.

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