Nation’s Report Card Shows Texas is Recovering from the Pandemic in Reading, Much Work Remains in Math
2022 results for the US show broad learning declines, with Texas doing better than most.
AUSTIN, Texas – October 24, 2022 – As Texas educators continue to focus on the difficult task of recovering from pandemic-related learning loss, the 2022 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), often called the Nation’s Report Card, shows both strengths and challenges for Texas, while painting a grim picture for the U.S. as a whole. NAEP is administered in reading and math for a sample of students in 4th and 8th grades roughly every two years in every state.
Texas’s NAEP results show that students in the Lone Star State have shown more progress than most in their academic recovery. Texas’s rank improved in both fourth and eighth grade reading, and in eighth grade math. In fourth grade math, Texas students performed better (239) than the national average (235) and exceptionally well when compared to their peers, with African American, Hispanic, White, and Economically Disadvantaged students ranking 1st, 4th, 2nd, and 6th in the U.S. African American students also rank 1st in math in eighth grade. Improvements in Texas’s rank in reading for its students was also notable. In particular, the performance of students with disabilities jumped from 34th to 17th in fourth grade reading and from 48th to 14th in eighth grade reading.
While the performance of Texas relative to the rest of the country is notable and mostly positive, the impact of the pandemic on student performance remains stark. Average scores for the U.S. are down at a level that is statistically significant in all four tested grades and subjects on NAEP for 2022 vs 2019. In Texas, results in reading for 2022 are not statistically significantly different from 2019, an indicator that Texas is recovering well from the impacts of the pandemic in this subject. But Texas performance in math in 2022 is statistically significantly lower than it was in 2019, even though Texas students have seen fewer declines than those in other parts of the U.S.
Administered by the National Center for Education Statistics and overseen by the National Assessment Governing Board for the first time since 2019, NAEP serves as a “yardstick” and measures what students in the U.S. know and can do in various subjects over time and compares achievement among states, large urban districts, and various student groups. NAEP results are not available for individual students nor individual schools and are not available every year.
While NAEP serves as a good barometer of statewide performance for Texas vs. the U.S., state assessments provide additional insights. The State of Texas Assessment of Academic Readiness (STAAR) is administered each year, is based on Texas state standards, has repeatedly been proven valid, reliable, and on-grade level, and results are provided to educators to help them plan specific supports for students every year. Parents can also log into texasassessment.gov to see detailed STAAR results for their children, with clear information on where their children are academically, information on progress compared to previous years, and parents can view every question and response from their children on each STAAR test. For educational leaders across the state, STAAR results made available earlier this year provided important information about our state’s learning recovery when compared against results also available in 2021, and schools are using STAAR to implement targeted action plans to help students. For analysis of statewide policy, when compared with results from 2019, STAAR results for 2022 yield similar conclusions as those from NAEP: Texas students are recovering in reading, but math performance is weaker today than it was pre-pandemic.
“Results from the 2022 Nation’s Report Card highlight the hard work of Texas teachers and students. While we are largely recovering from the effects of the pandemic in reading, much work remains in math,” said Texas Education Commissioner Mike Morath. “Thanks to policies enacted by Governor Abbott and legislature, Texas is recovering from the educational impacts of the pandemic faster than most states, and we will continue to remain focused on meeting the needs of every Texas student.”
Texas adopted a range of policies during the pandemic to continue the focus on meeting the needs of our students. The state worked to ensure in-person instruction remained available; ensured that both educators and parents could see grade-level proficiency results from STAAR to build student action plans accordingly; removed all high stakes for students from STAAR (HB 4545); ensured students most affected by the disruptions to learning had access to free tutoring (HB 4545); provided ongoing training on best practices in early reading instruction to teachers (HB 3); offered support to schools focused on ensuring they had access to rigorous curricular materials to support learning acceleration (HB 1525); and ensured transparency in student academic results remained high with the A-F system (HB 22 & SB 1365).