DES MOINES, Iowa – The National Center for Educational Statistics (NCES) released the 2022 results of the 2022 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), billed as the “Nation’s Report Card,” which showed a nationwide decline in scores following the COVID-19 pandemic.
The average fourth-grade math scores dropped five points lower than all previous assessments since 2005. Likewise, the average eighth-grade math score dropped eight points compared to 2019 and was lower than all previous assessments dating back to 2003.
The average reading scores for fourth and eighth graders were down three points compared to 2019. The fourth-grade average reading score was the lowest it has been since 2005, and NCES reports it was not significantly different compared to 1992. Likewise, the eighth-grade average reading score was lower than all previous assessments since 1998 and not significantly different compared to 1992.
Iowa’s average score in fourth-grade math was not significantly different than the state’s 2019 average score and was almost five points higher than the national average. The state’s fourth-grade reading score saw a 2.48-point drop since 2019, but NCES didn’t report a significant difference. The state’s average score was 1.91 points higher than the national average score.
Iowa’s eighth-grade math average score has dropped almost five points since 2019 but was four points higher than the national average score. Iowa’s eighth-grade reading average score has fallen 2.5 points since 2019, less than one point higher than the national average score.
Iowa ranks 7th in 4th-grade math, 15th in 4th-grade reading, 15th in 8th-grade math, and 20th in 8th-grade reading.
Gov. Kim Reynolds said the state did the right thing by reopening schools.
“Iowa was the first state in the nation to reopen its schools during the pandemic, bringing students back to the classroom for in-person learning in August 2020 – not to make headlines or for political gain, but because we believed it was the best thing to do for our children’s education, stability, and overall well-being. Now, the first pandemic-era math and reading results reported today by the National Assessment of Educational Progress prove we did the right thing,” she said.
Reynolds pointed out that Iowa still has progress to make.
“While we still have work to do to improve educational performance in Iowa, our students are ahead of their peers across the country because we kept our schools open and gave parents the choice of what was best for their children.”