New national ‘report card’ shows sharp drop in basic proficiency for students in history, civics

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Schools are seeing a sharp drop in test scores for many students.


New numbers from the National Center for Education Statistics show students scored 40-percent below “basic proficiency” last year in history and civics.

However, the new numbers also point to a pattern of lower scores across the board.

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The report is called the Nation’s Report Card, and now, the results are dropping to levels that haven’t been seen since the 1990s.

“The declines that we’re seeing, particularly in U.S. History,  were widespread for lower, middle, and higher performing students,” NCES Statistician Ebony Walton said.

According to NCES data, eighth grade scores dropped in U.S. History and civics. 40-percent of students scored below basic proficiency in 2022, but the bigger worry may be what researchers call a continued pattern of lower test scores across several subjects, including math and reading.

“On the whole, we are seeing- particularly for our lower-performing students- declines almost across the board, regardless of subject,” Walton said.

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Educators believe that the learning loss is a result of the pandemic and schools closing their doors.

Now, the focus in many classrooms is how to address the problem.

The federal government has sent billions of dollars in relief funds to schools, requiring them to spend at least 20-percent addressing learning loss.

“It was obvious from the beginning that children were suffering from shuttered classrooms,” Utah Republican Rep. Burgess Owens said.

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“We need to stay focused on getting students back to where they would’ve been,” Democrat from the Northern Mariana Islands Rep. Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan added.

Educators are also pushing for more one-on-one learning. Many say they believe that may be the best way to bridge the pandemic learning gap.

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