Chris Schulz Published

State Scores Low On National Report Card

Back to school concept with pencils, crayons in shopping cart with apple with face mask

West Virginia’s math and reading scores are some of the lowest in the nation, but data released by the U.S. Department of Education Monday shows academic decline across the country.

West Virginia’s scores fell across the board on the latest National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), the first nationwide measurement of learning since the pandemic.

The assessment, also known as the Nation’s Report Card, continually assesses what students in the United States know, particularly reading and math in the 4th and 8th grades.

In reading, the state’s average 4th grade score was 11 points below the national average, while the 8th grade average was 10 points below. These were the third and second lowest reading score averages in the nation, respectively.

In mathematics, West Virginia’s 4th grade scores were 9 points below the national average, while 8th grade scores were 13 points below, the country’s sixth and fourth lowest averages, respectively.

In all four assessments, West Virginia was at least six points below its own average on the 2019 NAEP.

Ebony Walton, a statistician and analyst with the National Center for Education Statistics, said one of the biggest factors for student outcomes during the pandemic was access to resources.

“What we saw was, particularly for lower performing students, they had a hard time accessing materials online, they had a hard time having a computer available to them at all times, they even had some difficulty having access to a teacher every day compared to their higher performing peers,” she said.

Walton stressed that declines in educational outcomes are not unique to West Virginia and will require a broad response.

“There’s so much that’s happening underneath that average that’s worth investigating,” she said. “I want to encourage everyone to keep moving forward so hopefully your communities can build and not just get to where they were before the pandemic but move beyond that.”