Maryland student scores followed a national declining trend on the 2022 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), continuing a downward trajectory that began in 2013 and worsened during the pandemic.
Maryland participates in the NAEP, a biennial assessment of fourth and eighth graders in reading and math. The assessment measures achievement at four levels: below basic, basic, proficient, and advanced. The NAEP assessment measures four levels of achievement on NAEP based on cut scores set for basic, proficient, and advanced. The fourth level, below basic, is by default and denotes performance that falls below the lowest achievement level. Testing results indicate that a majority of Maryland fourth and eighth grade students were not proficient in mathematics or reading. The largest decline in proficiency in Maryland and nationally was experienced in mathematics; 75 percent of Maryland eighth grade students and 69 percent of fourth grade students are at or below basic achievement in mathematics.
“The fourth and eighth grade 2022 NAEP reading and math assessment results confirm that the learning of all students suffered during the pandemic and also underscore the unacceptable opportunity and achievement gaps that continue to persist for Maryland’s Black, Hispanic, and economically disadvantaged students,” said State Superintendent of Schools Mohammed Choudhury. “As we continue to implement the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future and transform education, we must be innovative, collaborative and bold in our approaches to enhance and accelerate student achievement. There is no sugar coating these results. Maryland has been experiencing a downward trend since 2013, and a return to normal is not good enough. The current struggles of our students cannot be solely attributed to the pandemic. Our goal is to ensure that every Maryland student has access to excellent educational opportunities to realize their full potential, especially those who have been historically underserved.”
“The work that is currently underway will provide the foundation to implement best in class and evidence-based strategies across every classroom to ensure that Maryland students are performing competitively across the nation, achieving at the highest levels and prepared to thrive in college, careers and life,” continued Superintendent Choudhury.
The decline in Maryland’s 2022 NAEP scores in all four grade – subject areas tested is consistent with the testing results of most States. Specifically, average scores for Maryland students eligible for the National School Lunch Program declined for both fourth and eighth grade students in reading and math compared to 2019 results. The scores of Black and Hispanic students also declined significantly from 2019 in three of the four grade – subject categories. Black students experienced decreases in eighth grade reading and math, as well as fourth grade math. Hispanic students experienced decreases in fourth grade reading and math, and eighth grade math. Students with disabilities remained relatively unchanged from 2019 in all grades and subjects.The scores of white students remained unchanged in all grades and subjects except eighth grade math and the scores of Asian students also remained unchanged.
Maryland’s NAEP scores have generally been in decline since 2013 in each tested grade – subject.
Fourth Grade Reading
Maryland’s fourth grade reading average scale score is 212, down from 220 in 2019. In comparison, the national average scale score is 216. Fourth grade reading scores also demonstrate that the percentage of Maryland students scoring at or above the proficient level is at 31 percentage points, which is a decrease of four percentage points since 2019. This means that 69 percent of Maryland students performed at or below the basic level.
Eighth Grade Reading
Maryland’s eighth grade reading average scale score is 259, the same as the national average scale score. The 2022 Maryland scale score is down from 264 in 2019. Eighth grade reading scores also demonstrate the percentage of Maryland students scoring at or above the proficient level is at 32 percentage points, which is a decrease of three percentage points since 2019. This means that 67 percent of Maryland students performed at or below the basic level.
Fourth Grade Mathematics
Maryland’s fourth grade mathematics average scale score is 229, down from 239 in 2019. In comparison, the national average scale score is 235. Fourth grade mathematics scores also demonstrate the percentage of Maryland students scoring at or above the proficient level is at 31 percentage points, which is a decrease of eight percentage points since 2019. This means that 69 percent of Maryland students performed at or below the basic level.
Eighth Grade Mathematics
Maryland’s eight grade mathematics average scale score is 269, down from 280 in 2019. In comparison, the national average scale score is 273. Eighth grade mathematics scores also demonstrate the percentage of Maryland students scoring at or above the proficient level is at 25 percentage points, which is a decrease of eight percentage points since 2019. This means that 75 percent of Maryland students performed at or below the basic level.
Also known as The Nation’s Report Card, NAEP has provided meaningful results to improve education policy and practice since 1969. Results are available for the nation, states, and 27 urban districts. NAEP is a congressionally mandated program that is overseen and administered by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), within the U.S. Department of Education and the Institute of Education Sciences.
For additional information about NAEP scores, please visit: https://nces.ed.gov/
Letters to Editor
Reed Fawell 3 says
Do we have scores for Talbot County? If not, why?
Liz Freedlander says
What is most shocking is the data reported in the NYT today that Maryland is in the middle of the list of states achievement levels. While there is substantial poverty in our state, we have a knowledge economy and we have spent generously in many of our jurisdictions on education. I don’t believe anymore that more money can fix this. Should we be looking at innovative ways to teach? Something fundamental beyond Covid has created a mediocrity education system.
Reed Fawell 3 says
I suggest that the evidence is overwhelming that a significant problem here is innovation.
Generally in America, public school test scores have been falling in America since the late 1950s, when innovation began to take over schools. Hence, the Summerhill School model, begun in 1921 in England, has, in all its iterations, failed America miserably. Meanwhile,the Success Academy model that resurrected the back to the basics model in force through the mid-1950’s has proven that old style learning in classrooms is the perfect antidote to what ails modern American classrooms. This is a big subject. Some brilliant authorities within it are Thomas Sowell and E. D. Hirsch.
Reed Fawell 3 says
What is meant by the “back to the basic’s” school model, at say a Success Academy:
1. A safe, disciplined classroom that sets high learning expectations for all students, and that deploys in the classroom an array of proven tools and highly skilled and motivated teachers that can teach and motivate all students to ensure they gain the skills and classroom experiences needed to achieve those high learning expectations in reading, writing, and math, as well as social and cultural skills and knowledge needed to succeed in the world outside the classroom.
2/ require the involvement of a least one parent to reinforce classroom learning in the classroom and at home, every school day and week.
3/ require regular testing, and monitoring, honestly judged to ensure that every child is learning to at least his or her grade level before that child is advanced to the next grade.
4/ The cascade of success among most all students at Success Academies applies equally to students of all colors, races, and backgrounds, proving all kids can succeed in excellent schools using the Success Academy model, or variation thereof if built on its basic principles.
Contrast this rigorous learning system to what now is the most commonly found in America’s public schools.
1. A significant number of American children who arrive at first grade from broken and/or abusive homes are damaged socially, culturally and cognitively, some irreparable, and others for the rest of their lives, without the remedial attention they need to succeed. These kids far too often learn nothing but bad habits in schools that shuffle them up through the grades nevertheless.
2. Kids who are not proficient in reading, writing, and arithmetic at the 6th grade level, are likely to stall out altogether in learning thereafter, for lack of the tools needed to advance their academic learning, absent heavy remedial work to gain those skills by the 7th grade.
3. The rising number of these non performing, and under performing kids, who give up all hope and chance for learning often fill classrooms that are not safe and conducive for learning by the other kids. This often destroys the learning opportunities for most others in the classroom.
In short, we now have a problem of cascading failure in classrooms and schools throughout the nation. Now its often acerbated by what these kids learn and are taught in these failing schools.
According to the WSJ, these NAEP test scores discussed above are also broken down by the school district, so performance by local schools such as in Talbot County should be available.
Reed Fawell 3 says
With regard to the often irreparable harm done to children within the first 6 years of their life by broken and/or abusive homes see this seminal work:
1. Becoming Human: A theory of Ontogeny, by Michael Tomasello, published by Belknap Press: An Imprint of Harvard University Press (January 19, 2021)
With regard to the human need for strong cultural support to achieve success generally, see:
1. The Weirdest People in the World, by Joseph Henrich, 2021.
Reed Fawell 3 says
Here is a wonderful program that sees the problem and is going about helping to fix it in a very productive and efficient manner. And fortunately it is right down the road in Dorchester County.