PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — While the pandemic spared no state or region of historic learning setbacks, Rhode Island Education Commissioner Angélica Infante-Green believes it could’ve been much worse for local students.
The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), known as the “nation’s report card,” detailed historic declines in reading and mathematics among fourth and eighth graders across the country.
Students haven’t been tested since 2019, which is why experts are viewing the scores as the first representative study of the pandemic’s detrimental impact on learning nationwide.
Infante-Green said the results revealed that “like countless communities across the country, the pandemic took a toll on Rhode Island’s education system.”
But not all hope is lost, according to Infante-Green.
“The scores give us a glimmer of hope because they show that the impact of the disruption of COVID-19 was more pronounced in other northeast states than in Rhode Island, where we kept schools open,” Infante-Green explained.
The report showed that 24% of Rhode Island’s eighth graders were proficient in math this year, which is 5% less than those tested in 2019.
Massachusetts eighth graders, on the other hand, were only 35% proficient in math, which is down from 47%.
While Rhode Island still reported a decline in mathematics, the R.I. Department of Education (RIDE) noted that the state’s score “was not significantly different from the nation’s average.”
Rhode Island’s reading scores also dipped, but not nearly as much compared to pre-pandemic levels.
The report revealed that 31% Rhode Island eighth graders were proficient in reading, which is 3% less than those tested in 2019.
In Massachusetts, eighth graders were 40% proficient in reading, down from 44%.
“While Rhode Island students scored lower than those in Massachusetts and New Hampshire, Rhode Island 2022 scores compared to 2019 decreased less than Massachusetts, Connecticut and Maine,” RIDE explained.
Infante-Green said the state is working diligently to help students.
“We remain steadfast in our commitment to accelerate learning statewide and will continue to collaborate closely with our partners to get our students back up to speed,” she said. “We have a solid strategy to continue to move our state forward and meet the academic needs of our students.”