TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Across the United States, educational outcomes during the COVID-19 pandemic were mixed from state-to-state, but overall, a new federal report said the scores were the lowest since 1990. The report was put together by the National Center for Education Statistics’ National Report Card.

According to NCES, reading and mathematics tests for students 9 years of age fell by five points in reading and seven in math, compared to 2020 at the start of the pandemic. The report said it was the “largest average score decline in reading since 1990, and the first ever score decline in mathematics.”

Dr. Peggy G. Carr, the NCES commissioner, said in a preliminary statement before the report’s release that America as a country had been “concerned about he short and longer-term impacts of the pandemic on our children.” The report, according to NCES, is the first to compare learning outcomes before and after the pandemic, in terms of student achievement, focused on math and reading.

“During the pandemic, NCES continued and enhanced other data collections on education challenges, and they paint a sobering picture,” Carr said. “School shootings, violence, and classroom disruptions are up, as are teacher and staff vacancies, absenteeism, cyberbullying, and students’ use of mental health services. This information provides some important context for the results we’re seeing from the long-term trend assessment.”

The new report card from NCES does not provide breakdowns by state but rather by region. According to the report’s data, the Northeast region had the highest “average scale score,” while the West had the lowest.

The south, which includes Florida, had the second lowest average scale score, just a point above the western region of the United States.

Here’s how the report breaks down the scores for 9-year-old students. The scoring is broken down with both scale score averages and if students remembered taking part in remote learning at any point.

Attended Remote LearningDid Not Attend Remote LearningDid Not Remember if They Attended Remote Learning
YearJurisdictionRegionAverage Scale ScorePercentageAverage Scale ScorePercentageAverage Scale ScorePercentage
(Source: NCES)

For students who did not partake in any remote learning, or could not remember taking part in remote learning, the average scale scores on the assessments were lower. Based on the data, the majority of students took part in some form of remote learning, and those students scored slightly higher than their peers who did not.

While the data shows some small differences in scoring outcomes, the report itself notes that the National Assessment of Education Progress, the National Report Card, “is not designed to identify the causes of performance differences.”

The analysis of the data provided by NCES said there were multiple factors that influenced student achievement, “including local educational policies and practices,” as well as teacher quality and what resources were available, and therefore did not show direct correlation or causation between different levels of performance.

“These are some of the largest declines we have observed in a single assessment cycle in 50 years of the NAEP program,” Acting NCES Associate Commissioner Daniel McGrath said when the report came out. “Students in 2022 are performing at a level last seen two decades ago.”

NCES said the scores declined across multiple racial demographics, though with different levels depending on which racial groups students were a part of, between 2020 and 2022.

“Mathematics scores declined five points for White students, 13 points for Black students, and eight points for Hispanic students,” the report said. “The larger decline for Black students compared to White students increased the score gap by eight points.”

When it came to reading scores, White, Black, and Hispanic students all saw six point declines in scoring. For Asian and Pacific Islander students, and American Indian or Alaska Native students, NCES said score changes “were not statistically significant.” Still, scores “declined for students in every region of the country” for both reading and mathematics.