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Wisconsin elementary school students buck national trends in ‘National Report Card’ release

Opportunity gaps between Black and white students persist
Monday, October 24, 2022

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MADISON — In a year when students across the nation experienced declines, Wisconsin elementary school students held steady in mathematics and reading assessment scores released today by the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), also known as the “Nation’s Report Card.” Consistent with national trends, Wisconsin eighth grade students experienced declines in both subjects, but overall scores remained at or above the national average.
 
“The results released today reiterate trends we have seen across the nation as students continue to recover from learning disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic,” State Superintendent Dr. Jill Underly said. “Recovery is a continuous journey, and we haven’t yet reached a destination we are satisfied with, nor do we just want to return to where we were before. What is clear is that Wisconsin students, educators, and schools need our support more than ever. They are our future, and we owe it to them to invest in their success and ensure they are well prepared to lead this state.”
 
The 2022 NAEP results are the first glimpse at how the COVID-19 pandemic may have affected students academically on the national level. NAEP is the largest nationally representative and continuing assessment of what the nation’s students know and can do in various subject areas.
 
In mathematics, Wisconsin was one of 10 states/jurisdictions without any significant statistical change among fourth graders from 2019, with students performing above the national average scale score. In the same subject, the state’s eighth graders were among 51 states/jurisdictions experiencing score declines from 2019, though Wisconsin eighth graders remain above the national average. In reading, Wisconsin fourth graders were among 22 states/jurisdictions that did not experience a significant statistical change from 2019. Wisconsin eighth graders were among 33 states/jurisdictions experiencing a decline in reading scores from 2019.
 
NAEP results also showed the Black to white opportunity gap among Wisconsin fourth and eighth graders persists in both mathematics and reading. Wisconsin’s opportunity gap between Black and white students remains the widest among all states/jurisdictions, except the District of Columbia, according to NAEP results.
 
“We’ve known Wisconsin’s racial disparities in assessment results are among the widest in the nation for too long, and these troubling results are yet one more indication that we must close the opportunity gap in our state,” Dr. Underly said. “We need continued investment, intervention, and innovation in our state, and we have the means to accomplish exactly that. Our biennial budget request will help put targeted resources and supports in our schools and ensure we are helping the students who need it the most at this critical time. They deserve no less, and neither do we.”
 
The 2022 NAEP was taken by students from January to March 2022 and was previously taken by students in early 2019. The national assessment is typically administered on a two-year basis. About 2,200 Wisconsin fourth graders and about 2,600 eighth graders were tested in reading. About 2,300 Wisconsin fourth graders and about 2,500 eighth graders were tested in mathematics.
 
Wisconsin’s full state report can be found on the NAEP website, along with the national report. For more information on NAEP in Wisconsin, visit the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction’s website.
 
Results for NAEP’s Trial Urban District Assessment were also released today with state results. Milwaukee Public Schools is among 26 large urban school districts that participate in TUDA. More information and results for TUDAs can be found on the NAEP’s website.

Official Release