Statement on 2022 NAEP Results

The NAEP results released this week raise serious concerns that are much bigger than test scores and cast serious doubt on our ability as a nation to provide an education that enables students to graduate on time, achieve post-secondary success, and ultimately thrive in our ever-evolving economy. The data show that all states have experienced declines – most across both fourth and eighth grade, and for both math and reading. In math, the declines are the biggest ever reported by NAEP. As we await further district-level data early next week, the national and state data provide clear evidence of the broad-sweeping negative impacts of the pandemic. The new indicators strengthen our conviction that it will take a massive, coordinated effort to reverse this trend.

We owe it to our nation’s students to do everything in our collective power to ensure these setbacks are temporary and do not affect their long-term aspirations and achievements.

To design and enact impactful solutions, in addition to understanding the consequences of the pandemic, we need to take an unfiltered look at the state of U.S. public education prior to the pandemic. NAEP scores in reading declined from 2017-2019 as well, and both scores have been either stagnating or declining for a decade. Now the gap has widened in fourth-grade math and reading between higher scoring whites and Asian Americans compared to Blacks and Latinos. And lower-performing students continue to fall further behind.

It is not exaggeration to say we are facing a national crisis that is worsening. It will take a herculean effort to erase these declines and disparities and set up our nation’s children for future success.  It starts with thinking outside the limits of the systems that produced these outcomes. We cannot afford to be patient and set our sights on incremental change.

We will need infusions of resources beyond 2024 and we must use these dollars – and data – to innovate with precision and purpose. We will need to lock arms with students, parents, school leaders, community members, public officials, private industry, and other nonprofits. We will need to work to ensure all Americans understand the consequences for the future U.S. economy of having two-thirds of students trailing behind standards. There is nothing more important.

TNTP is on a mission to identify, articulate and scale solutions that enable students to learn and succeed at an accelerated pace. We hold an unshakeable belief that all students can achieve grade-level proficiency – and ultimately be on a path to economic and social mobility – with the right set of bold, targeted, and proven strategies. With a commitment to collaboration and rigor, let’s rededicate ourselves to finding what works in unlocking productive learning for all students. Let’s sound the alarm and broadly advance our intentions in coalition and with urgency. And let’s settle for nothing less than going far beyond the ground we’ve lost to achieve an education system that fulfills its promise to all children.

Imali Ariyarathne, seventh-grade teacher at Langston Hughes Academy, stands in front of her students while introducing them to the captivating world of science

Imali Ariyarathne, seventh-grade teacher at Langston Hughes Academy, introduces her students to the captivating world of science.

About TNTP

TNTP is the nation’s leading research, policy, and consulting organization dedicated to transforming America’s public education system, so that every generation thrives.

Today, we work side-by-side with educators, system leaders, and communities across 39 states and over 6,000 districts nationwide to reach ambitious goals for student success.

Yet the possibilities we imagine push far beyond the walls of school and the education field alone. We are catalyzing a movement across sectors to create multiple pathways for young people to achieve academic, economic, and social mobility.

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