Math Proficiency Plummets on New York State Exams

ALBANY –  The Empire Center issued an analysis of the recently-released results of Math and English Language Arts achievement exams taken statewide last spring by students in grades 3-8, revealing the nature and extent of learning loss during the pandemic among New York schoolchildren. The report, issued just as the new Legislature convenes, analyzes the results of the first full administration of these annual exams to be conducted since the onset of the pandemic.

Titled “Learning Loss in New York During the Pandemic”, the paper tracks how these latest achievement scores compare across school type, grade level, and geographic region. It also attempts to explain the factors driving the various results, and to interpret their significance.

The most pronounced change in achievement occurred in math, where proficiency rates dropped sharply from 48.5 percent to 41.2 percent. The state assessment data reveals dramatic decline across grade levels. Proficiency in grades 3-5 declined from 50.4 percent to 42.5 percent, while in grades 6-8 it declined from 42.4 percent to 33.8 percent.
Students statewide fared better in English, as the proportion of students whose scores reached the threshold of “proficient” in ticked up from 45.4 percent in 2019 to 46.6 percent in 2022.

“Issued by the state education department after an inexcusably long delay, the test results provide critical data concerning the impact of pandemic-era schooling on New York’s students. As feared, much ground has been lost,” said Ian Kingsbury, adjunct policy fellow at the Empire Center and the paper’s author. “The results are a clarion call: Policymakers from the governor’s office down to each local school district must take action to enable students to recover lost learning and to remain on a trajectory to success.

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