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Missouri student test scores in math and reading decline


National Assessment of Educational Progress presented data Tuesday to the Missouri State Board of Education that showed how the COVID-19 pandemic hurt students in math and reading.

The organization evaluates fourth and eighth graders in math and reading across the country every two years, but the pandemic put the 2021 assessment on pause until 2022.

The assessment does not test individuals or individual schools, but rather the country as a whole.

During the meeting, state education officials said the data presented shows Missouri -- along with the rest of the country -- experienced a decline in both grades in reading and math compared to the 2019 assessment.

Overall, Missouri was ranked 16th for NAEP assessment from 2019-22.

The number of Missouri eighth graders who performed at or above the proficient level in math was at 24% in 2022, which is down from a 32% mark in 2019.

About 28% of students were at or above the proficient level in 2022 for reading, compared to to 33% in 2019.

Among fourth graders in Missouri, 34% tested at or above proficient in math in 2022 compared to 39% in 2019. The same students who performed at or above a proficient level in reading dropped from 34% in 2019 to 30% in 2022.

Teachers and board members expressed that the two year long COVID-19 pandemic impacted student achievement.

Noelle Gilzow -- president of the Columbia Missouri National Education Association -- says younger students learn through classroom activities. Not being able to interact with teachers face-to-face caused those test results, she says.

"Students were not able to have those one on one or small group interactions with teachers," Gilzow said. "So, we anticipated a dip in scores."

The State Board of Education questioned what factors are contributing to the decline -- whether teacher pay is affecting the decrease in achievement and how many days classes were held in person compared to the number of days of virtual learning and closures due to the pandemic.

Gilzow says there is a lack of resources in terms of personal and because there is less support such as classroom aids and instructional aids in the classroom. She says the positions are open but they aren't being filled.

Article Topic Follows: Education

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Erika McGuire

Erika McGuire originally comes from Detriot. She is a reporter and weekend anchor on ABC 17 News.


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