September 21, 2022

Math and reading test scores down, ND not expecting to follow national trend

BISMARCK, ND (KFYR) — Last week, the National Center for Education Statistics released the National Assessment of Education Progress, and the report card was less than stellar.

Two years after the pandemic disrupted in-person classroom learning, schools are finally discovering the end result of remote learning.

National test results released last week showed maths scores fell by seven points and reading scores by five points, for nine-year-olds. But the North Dakota Department of Public Instruction says a national report doesn’t necessarily tell the whole picture.

“Nationally, only 7,400 students took the NAEP LTT, and from ND, less than 10 students took the assessment. So it could be zero, it could be one, it could be two. And so when you have a small sample like that, it doesn’t give you that precise data, and it’s just nine-year-olds,” said Stan Schauer, director of evaluation for the Department of Health. North Dakota Public Education.

NAEP LTT stands for Long Term Trends. This can be considered a subset of the NAEP test. North Dakota would typically have 20,000 students tested compared to the handful of students who were tested for LTT. Teachers’ union leaders are confident that the NAEP test results will paint a better picture of remote learning.

“I suspect we will see a slight decline, but it should come as no surprise at all that we are seeing a decline. Any time you have such a massive disruption to in-person learning, it is bound to affect those students,” said Nick Archuleta, president of ND United.

Archuleta believes the way North Dakota educators were able to respond quickly and effectively to the pandemic will translate into better test scores. He says getting students back into the classroom for in-person learning faster than in other states was important to support academic development and retention. NAEP test results will be available in October and will provide education leaders with better data to review.