Colorado sees steep drop in math proficiency in first national assessment since pandemic began

Written by: Children's Campaign
Date Posted: October 28, 2022

The share of Colorado eighth graders who scored at or above proficient in math on a national assessment fell by 9 percentage points between 2019 and 2022, offering a glimpse at how the pandemic may have affected student learning. Math proficiency also fell for Colorado fourth graders, and reading scores dropped for students in grades four and eight.  

The scores were released this week as part of a package of new data from the National Assessment of Educational Progress, often referred to as NAEP or the “Nation’s Report Card.” The NAEP is typically administered every other year to a sample of U.S. students in grades four and eight. It allows for comparisons among Colorado, other states, and the nation. 

 The declines observed in Colorado between 2019 and 2022 mirror national trends: the U.S. experienced the steepest decline in average math scores on record during this timeframe. The national average reading score also fell, although less dramatically than math scores. Despite the declines in proficiency in Colorado, the shares of students proficient in math and reading were higher than the national average across both grades tested.  

Source: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). 

These declines in reading and math performance underscore the urgent need for additional resources to support Colorado kids and their families after more than two years of upheaval due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Support for schools is vital, as are investments in economic prosperity, health and early learning opportunities. Stay tuned to KidsFlash to learn more about how you can support policies designed to mitigate the impact of the pandemic on kids across our state. 


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The Colorado Children’s Campaign is a nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy organization committed since 1985 to realizing every chance for every child in Colorado. We advocate for the development and implementation of data-driven public policies that improve child wellbeing in health, education and early childhood. We do this by providing Coloradans with trusted data and research on child wellbeing and organizing an extensive state-wide network of dedicated child advocates. For more information, please visit