NewsCovering Colorado


School testing scores drop to levels unseen for decades, show effects of pandemic

Posted at 5:49 AM, Oct 27, 2022

COLORADO — National school test scores show math and reading levels have declined to levels not seen in decades, showing proof of the effects the pandemic has had on learning.

The latest National Assessment on Educational Progress (NAEP) report shows test scores from 2022 in math and reading, testing fourth, eighth and twelfth graders. The test results are the first scores since the pandemic started two years ago. Math scores for fourth and eighth graders had the largest decline seen since 1990 when testing first started. Reading scores also showed a decline to levels not seen since around 2003.

Colorado's test scores showed similar declines, but remain above the national average in both reading and math. Fourth graders in Colorado dropped six points in math and two points in reading. School districts do not receive their own test scores back, but the 2022 Colorado Measures of Academic Success (CMAS) tet scores show similar declines.

Michael Gaal, superintendent for District 11 in Colorado Springs, said the NAEP scores acurately reflect students in the district. Throughout the pandemic, schools have received federal funding through the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund (ESSER) to combat the loss of learning. Gaal said District 11 is still spending phases two and three of that funding but is on track to spend it all by the deadline in 2024. He said they are spending it on things like a new math curriculum, doubling the number of after-school programs, more tutoring after school, and more professional development days for teachers.

"By extending all learning opportunities, through pre-K, through before and after school programming, through summer school, will help us to be able to make up the time that was lost during Covid. We're not alone, we're just choosing to no longer look backwards and we're trying to focus on the on the future," Gaal said.

At the district's last board meeting, Gaal said they reallocated 63 million dollars to target learning loss.

Eric McMartin, assistant superintendent for Manitou Springs District 14, said their district is using federal funding to purchase new math curriculum and textbooks to combat the loss of learning.

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