EAST LYME, Conn. (WTNH) — Connecticut students’ test scores dropped during the pandemic, according to the National Assessment of Educational Progress’ 2022 report.
It’s a result, educational leaders said, that isn’t surprising.
“Our student achievement is not quite back from pre-pandemic levels,” said Ajit Gopalakrishnan, the chief performance officer at the Connecticut State Department of Education.
However, now that students have returned to the classroom, they are seeing that progress return.
“Once we’re back to in-person learning fully and consistently this year, I think you’re gonna see even greater growth,” said Fran Rabinowitz with the Connecticut Association of Public School Superintendents.
Nationwide, the assessment found that math scores saw the largest decreases since it began tracking them, and that reading scores returned to 1992 levels. It also found that about 40% of eighth-grade students didn’t understand basic math concepts.
The 2022 assessment was the first time the test had been given since 2019.
The national report found that the average fourth-grade math score decreased by five points on its scale, and was lower than all previous assessment years going back to 2005. In 2022, as well, the average reading score for both fourth and eighth-grade students decreased by three points, compared to 2019.
The “pandemic slide” also impacted ACT scores, with this year’s high school graduates having the lowest scores in more than 30 years.
Rabinowitz said that the state’s Smarter Balance Assessment System shows that Connecticut scores are not below the national average.
The state has seen an infusion of federal funds to help with recovery. That has been used toward academic and social-emotional programs during and after school, along with in the summer.
Teachers have “gone to great lengths to ensure their students learn, grow, and thrive,” according to a written statement from the Connecticut Education Association.
“The NAEP results highlight the continued effects of COVID-19 on our students and confirm what educators have been saying for more than two years,” the statement reads. “The pandemic exacerbated existing gaps in opportunity and learning experiences between students in well-funded schools and those in chronically underfunded schools. The impacts on students of color, English learners, and students with disabilities were particularly acute.”
The tests are “a snapshot in time,” according to the statement.
“Viewed in isolation, scores alone cannot identify what our students need or how to best support them,” it reads.