(US MEDIA GROUP) – Startling new data reveals that the math and reading skills of students in the United States have reached their lowest level in decades. According to reports from Fox News, the last time math scores among 13-year-olds were this low was in 1990, while reading scores hit a similar low in 2004. These findings, based on scores from the National Center for Education Statistics, indicate a worrying trend that shows no sign of post-pandemic recovery.
Peggy G. Carr, the Commissioner of the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), expressed concern about the situation, stating, “We continue to see worrisome signs about student achievement and well-being more than two years after most students returned for in-person learning.” This lack of progress and decline in basic skills is a cause for alarm.
‘The New York Times‘ further highlights that the “basic skills” test, on which students performed poorly, reveals a significant decline. Carr emphasized that the decline in math skills among 13-year-olds marks the largest drop observed in the past half-century. The situation is grave, as it affects boys and girls across all racial demographics, although some groups have experienced steeper declines than others.
While the current data highlights the impact of the pandemic, Acting Associate Commissioner of the NCES, Dan McGrath, points out that the decline can be traced back to 2012. However, the COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated the situation due to the significant changes it brought to the education system.
The implications of this decline go beyond academic performance. Carr notes, “We are observing steep drops in achievement, troubling shifts in reading habits, and other factors that affect achievement and rising mental health challenges.” The consequences of this decline in basic skills are far-reaching and demand urgent attention.
Efforts to reverse this trend must involve a multifaceted approach. Comprehensive reforms in educational policies, a renewed focus on fundamental skills, increased support for educators, and equitable access to resources are significant steps towards remedying the situation. Additionally, addressing the mental health challenges that students face is crucial for fostering an environment conducive to learning and growth.
As the United States grapples with the declining basic skills of its students, it is essential for stakeholders to collaborate and devise targeted strategies to reverse this alarming trend. The future success of the nation hinges on equipping students with the necessary skills and knowledge to thrive in an increasingly competitive global landscape.