COVID decline shown in Kentucky students’ NAEP scores

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Some Kentucky 4th and 8th graders produced the lowest scores in more than 10 years on the 2022 National Assessment of Educational Progress also known as the Nation’s Report Card, according to results released Monday.

The NAEP test, as it is commonly called, was given to a representative, random sampling of students in 4th and 8th grades across the country last school year.

Data provided by the Kentucky Department of Education showed that the NAEP Mathematics Scale Scores for Kentucky 4th graders was 241 in 2011, declining to 234 in 2022. The score for Kentucky 8th graders was 282 in 2011, declining to 269 in 2022. The national scores were higher for both grades in 2022, four points higher for eighth graders.

In reading, the scale score for Kentucky 4th graders was 225 in 2011 and 217 in 2022. The reading scale score for Kentucky 8th graders were 269 in 2011 and 258 in 2022. The national average scale scores were higher.

Also, in eighth grade mathematics, 25 states or jurisdictions scored higher than Kentucky.

NAEP scores are not reported for school districts, schools or students except for Jefferson County, one of 26 districts nationwide in a trial.

The results show Kentucky’s public school students’ NAEP performance is consistent with those of the rest of the nation, a news release from the Kentucky Department of Education said.

“This year’s NAEP results are not unexpected and show the profound impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on our students,” Kentucky Education Commissioner Jason E. Glass said.

Glass said Kentucky’s scores align with results seen across the country and with what was seen on this year’s 2022 Kentucky School Report Card released October 18.

“Even with these resources, recovering from so much interrupted learning will take time. We must use this data strategically to help inform us of where our students are and provide appropriate supports to keep them moving ahead,” he said.

Glass said in his weekly Monday message that, “we already are seeing early signs of improvement.”

Heather Peske, President of the National Council on Teacher Quality, said in a news release that nationally, there will be an inappropriate amount of attention on “who or what to blame for these devastating NAEP results.”

“Instead we should be laser focused on how we make this right for our children. We know students urgently need our support to recover academically, and we know that teachers are the ones who can make it happen,” Peske said.

This story was originally published October 24, 2022 5:58 PM.

Staff writer Valarie Honeycutt Spears covers K-12 education, social issues and other topics. She is a Lexington native with southeastern Kentucky roots.

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