Local educators react to national, Massachusetts test scores

Local educators are reacting to a national report released Monday morning that showed math and English test scores plummeted during the pandemic.
Published: Oct. 24, 2022 at 4:08 PM EDT|Updated: Oct. 24, 2022 at 5:51 PM EDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WGGB/WSHM) - Local educators are reacting to a national report released Monday morning that showed math and English test scores plummeted during the pandemic.

National Assessment of Educational Progress test scores, otherwise known as “The Nation’s Report Card,” were released on Monday morning. It showed a significant dip in math and reading scores for fourth and eighth grade students since the last report in 2019.

On a testing scale from 0 to 500, math scores for fourth graders dropped five points, from 241 to 236, and eight points for eighth graders, from 282 to 274. It’s the sharpest drop since the first test in 1990.

Reading scores also took a hit. Fourth graders and eighth graders were each down three points.

Despite the alarming drop, the Bay State led the nation in average test scores and posted the highest score in three of the four categories.

“The test scores tell us what we already knew, which is that we have been that we have been through a cataclysmic national event that up ended all of our lives, including our students, and their families and our schools,” said Max Page, president of the Massachusetts Teachers Association.

Page told Western Mass News that the scores show the damaging effect of the COVID-19 pandemic and also underscore a gap between the wealthiest school districts and the most disadvantaged districts.

“What we know now is that our schools need and our students need greater resources to help them to recover in all ways: academically, socially, mentally, emotionally,” Page added.

We also brought questions to Vito Perrone, interim superintendent for West Springfield Public Schools.

“What can we do? I think we need to frame things in the positive. We need to talk about engagement, not chronic absenteeism. We have to talk about connecting with students,” Perrone noted.

Perrone said he’s turning his attention towards everyone, but particularly high-need students, which the state identified as those on an IEP, English language learners, and low-income students.

“From again, our highest achieving to our most challenged. We have to find a way to meet people where they are and bring them all up,” Perrone added.

Page also stressed the importance of paying teachers and educational support professionals, who continue to set the standard for the nation’s highest scoring state.