June 21, 2023

Ranking Member Cassidy on Troubling Report Showing Declining Reading and Math Scores Among Students Post-Pandemic

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA), ranking member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, released a statement following the publication of the 2023 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) Long-Term Trends report showing a 4-point decline in reading performance and a 9-point decline in math performance among 13-year-old students compared to their pre-pandemic levels during the 2019–20 school year. These are the largest declines since the test was first administered in 1971. Specifically, students scored an average of 256 out of 500 for reading and 271 out of 500 for math, which are the lowest scores in their respective categories since 1975 and 1990. 


“It appears that shuttering schools during the pandemic, even after public health officials said that they could reopen, caused massive harm to our children. Students are entering high school who cannot read,” said Dr. Cassidy. “This is intolerable. Parents should have the power to place their child in a school which is most likely to address the child’s educational need. These scores make the case for school choice better than any other argument.”


The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) administered the NAEP reading and math assessments to 8,700 13-year-old students from October to December of 2022.