PORTLAND, Ore. — New standardized test results further confirm Oregon students are experiencing learning setbacks in reading and math — a trend seen around the country at historic levels, attributed to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Scores from the National Assessment of Educational Progress — known as the "nation's report card" — shows fourth graders and eighth graders in Oregon are below average in both reading and math.
The test quizzed hundreds of thousands of fourth and eighth graders across the country this year. It was the first time the test had been given since 2019, and it's seen as the first nationally representative study of the pandemic's impact on learning.
Across the country, math scores saw their largest decreases ever. Reading scores dropped to 1992 levels.
In Oregon, the results from the tests echo results from the state's own assessment done in the spring and released in September, according to the Oregon Department of Education.
According to National Assessment of Educational Progress, Oregon fourth-grade students dropped eight points in math and seven points in reading, compared to scores in 2019. Only five other states and the District of Columbia ranked lower.
Eighth-grade students in Oregon went down nine points in math and seven points in reading. Researchers usually think of a 10-point gain or drop as equivalent to roughly a year of learning.
"In NAEP, when we experience a 1- or 2-point decline, we're talking about it as a significant impact on a student’s achievement," said Peggy Carr, commissioner of the National Center for Education Statistics, a branch of the Education Department, said in an interview.
These dropping scores aren't surprising for Doctor Mike Franz, who’s a child psychiatrist with Regence.
"Kids are struggling and should be expected that they are going to struggle with being back in school and the expectations placed upon us," Franz said.
He said the big factor in these low numbers is that many students were out of school for so long. Some just got back to in-person classes for the first time this year.