School leaders weigh in on historic drop in math, reading scores

‘We just have to bring every strategy that we can think of and work with that child’

A national report shows that Virginia's students were the hardest hit by the pandemic

ROANOKE, Va. – A new report, the National Assessment of Educational Progress, shows students across the Commonwealth have struggled in the classroom since the COVID-19 pandemic began.

For the first time in 30 years, fourth-grade students have fallen below the national average in reading and are barely above the national average in math.

Virginia’s fourth-grade reading proficiency dropped from 38% in 2019 to 32% in 2022, close to the national average, but that’s the lowest score since 1998.

Fourth-grade math scores also dropped. 48% were proficient in 2019, and this year, only 38% were proficient.

Governor Glenn Youngkin said there are initiatives to make sure kids can succeed next year, like starting tutoring partnerships.

Youngkin is also asking for community support.

“We need you to step up and lend a helping hand, you can do this by becoming a volunteer tutor you can go to schoolhouse dot world right now and sign up to tutor our kids,” Youngkin said.

The Virginia Education Association responded and sent 10 News a statement which said, in part,

Radford City Schools Superintendent Robert Graham said they recognize they have work to do and have more personnel to help with behavior and literacy.

“We just have to bring every strategy that we can think of and work with that child,” Graham said.

Roanoke County Schools officials weighed in and said their students have made significant gains in performance on the 2022 SOL tests, especially in math.

“Our overall reading increased by 4 percentage points and our overall math increased by an impressive 11 percentage points from last year’s results,” said Ben Williams, director of assessment and research. “We are back to pre-pandemic performance in many of our individual subjects. Our reading performance last school year was strong and our math performance was exceptional, well above the statewide average. Overall reading scores were nine points above the statewide average while overall math scores were 16 points above the statewide average.”

Other school divisions, like Roanoke City Schools, are also weighing in, saying the NAEP just tests a handful of the hundreds of thousands of kids going to school in Virginia.

Henry County Public Schools Superintendent Sandy Strayer addressed the results as well.

You can read more about the NAEP results here.

About the Author:

Duke Carter returned to 10 News in January 2022.