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National test numbers show sharp decline in reading, math scores among 3rd-graders

The nation's report card shows that the COVID pandemic forcing schools to be closed erased two decades of progress in math and reading among America's children.

HOUSTON — National test results released Thursday show school closures due to COVID erased two decades of progress in math and reading among America's children.

The National Assessment of Educational Progress numbers show the regression hit minority students the hardest.

The test, also known as "the nation's report card," takes a snapshot of 9-year-olds (3rd-graders) pre- and post-pandemic.

RELATED: 'Sobering picture' of pandemic education: Reading, math scores drop sharply

In reading, kids dropped 5 points, the biggest drop since 1990.

In math, kids dropped 7 points. It's the first time since the testing began in the 1970s that there has been a drop at all.

The tests were given to a national sample of about 15,000 students. Experts said low-income and minority students were hit the hardest.

In reading, Black and Hispanic students lost 6 points. White students lost 4 points.

In math, Black students lost 13 points while Hispanic students lost 9 points. White students lost 6 points.

RELATED: Texas high school students slightly improve on some standardized tests; haven’t fully regained ground since the pandemic

Experts said school closures led to the loss of in-person learning, which tended to happen longer in big cities and low-income areas. They said that 1 point is roughly equal to 3 weeks of learning. So, a student who lost 13 points would need roughly an entire school year to make it up.

More pandemic scores for different grade levels will be released in the weeks to come.

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