The COVID-19 pandemic continues to take its toll as recent research has shown that between 2020 and 2022, math and reading scores for 9-year-olds fell by decades low numbers.
The National Center for Education Statistics reported the results of its National Assessment of Educational Progress long-term trend reading and math exams, often referred to as the Nation's Report Card, that gives a glimpse into the standing of early education.
The exams, given to 9-year-old students in early 2020 and again in early 2022, now show a dip in learning after two years in and out of the classroom, the agency reported.
When compared to 2020, the results for students in 2022 declined by 5 points in reading and 7 points in math, according to the exams.
The decline shows the pandemic's impact on early education, as it's the largest drop in reading scores since 1990 and the first ever decline in math scores, the organization said.
In a statement, Peggy Carr, the National Center for Education Statistics commissioner, shared that this is the first report to compare student results from before the pandemic to now. When it comes to the drop, Carr says there is no doubt it's from time missed in the classroom, making already present issues even worse.
"Covid-19 disruptions may have exacerbated many of the challenges we were already facing. We know that students who struggle the most have fallen further behind their peers," Carr said in a statement.
The report also noted that students who were already behind dropped even further, dipping 10 points in reading and 12 points in math.
Miguel Cardona, the U.S. Secretary of Education, shared with CNN that the drop appears to be related to the lack of in-person learning. He went as far as to say that the country is facing an education crisis.
"That is very alarming. It's disturbing. But it's not surprising, keeping in mind a year and a half ago, over half of our schools were not open for full-time learning," Cardona said.
But the pandemic isn't the only issue plaguing schools, as Carr also pointed the finger at other learning disruptions.
"School shootings, violence, and classroom disruptions are up, as are teacher and staff vacancies, absenteeism, cyberbullying, and students' use of mental health services. This information provides some important context for the results we're seeing from the long-term trend assessment," Carr said.