San Diego Unified Reflects Nation's Report Card, Shows Learning Loss After COVID is Dire

SDUSD's Math scores declined sharply while Reading scores remain largely unchanged from 2019 (though that doesn't mean scores are high)

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The Nation’s Report Card is out, and the results are not good.

That's not surprising, given the toll the pandemic took on student learning. Nevertheless, the learning loss indicated by the results from the latest 2022 Nation Report Card are devastating, especially in Math.

The National Assessment of Educational Progress, known as the Nation's Report Card, tests a broad sampling of fourth and eighth graders and was last issued in 2019 before the pandemic closed schools and students moved to online learning.

Math Scores Nationally:

In Math, the decline was the steepest ever recorded on the Nation's Report Card in two decades. Of particular concern, is how many students scored below basic.

Math scores were worse among eighth graders, with 38% earning scores that were “below basic.” For eighth graders, that means they can't find the third angle of a triangle if given the other two angles. That is worse than 2019, when 31% of eighth graders scored below that level.    

Reading Scores Nationally:

Reading scores went down too. In Reading, 37% of fourth graders and 30% of eighth graders did not meet the basic level in 2022.    

Reading and Math Scores in California:

California performed better than most other states. Reading scores remained steady and math scores did not decline as much as other states or as much as the national average.

Reading and Math Scores in the SDUSD:

Results for the state mirror results for students in the San Diego Unified School District, one of the nation’s large urban school districts included in the Nation’s Report Card.

Reading scores for students in fourth and eighth grades remained largely unchanged from 2019. But, Math scores declined more sharply.

In Math, district fourth graders went from 42% proficient in 2019 down to 34% in 2022; in eighth grade, proficiency rates decreased from 35% to 28%.

In an emailed statement to NBC 7, the SDUSD said it is helping students recover from learning loss through expanded early education and more support programs like tutoring for math, literacy and other subjects.

“We have to remember that the pandemic required our schools, students and educators to pivot. We implemented robust safety measures to protect our school communities, such as HVAC filtration systems, face masks, and protocols for contact tracing. All while maintaining the continuity of student instruction, and providing access to school meals and internet connectivity,” said Superintendent Dr. Lamont Jackson in district email.

“We need to do better but these results demonstrate that our students and educators are resilient. Our students are back in the classroom, and that is a critical first step that we need to acknowledge.”

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