The pandemic and virtual learning appear to have hindered students' ability to learn.
According to an assessment from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), students performed worse in math and reading in 2022 than they did in 2020, prior to the pandemic.
Nine-year-old children took the tests. Their scores declined by 5 points in reading and 7 points in math. That's the largest decline in reading since 1990 and the first-ever decline in math, according to the NCES.
"That is very alarming. It's disturbing. But it's not surprising, keeping in mind a year and a half ago over half of our schools were not open for full-time learning," Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona told CNN.
According to the study, 70% of children recalled learning remotely within the last two years. The highest test performers had greater access to a computer and a quiet work environment, the study says.
The NCES says this was the first nationally representative report comparing student achievement from before the pandemic to now.