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New Data Shows Students Gaining Ground, But Still Below Pre-Pandemic in Core Subjects

Test score data for 2022 shows fewer students are on grade level in math and reading than in 2019, a stark sign of the coronavirus pandemic’s negative impact on student learning and the slow recovery ahead.

Statewide, 25% of students who tested demonstrated proficiency in math, compared to 32% before the pandemic, in 2019. In English language arts, 27% scored proficient or higher, compared to 34% in 2019. 

In science, 31% of students scored proficient or higher, compared to 35% in 2019. 

Oklahoma tests students each year in English language arts and math in grades third through eighth plus 11th. The state assesses science in fifth, eighth and 11th grades. The exams are required under federal law. 

Testing was canceled in 2020 at the onset of the pandemic. Though exams resumed in 2021, a participation waiver from the U.S. Department of Education meant fewer students tested. 

Compared to 2021, students are showing signs of recovery. Of the 17 assessments given, students scoring at least proficient increased in all but two areas — 11th grade math (0.5% decrease) and eighth grade science (- 2.58%). 

Eleventh grade English language arts jumped nearly 8.5% and in several other grades and subjects, proficiency levels improved by 4% or more.

“In light of more than two school years of COVID-related instructional challenges and interruptions, these results show that local and statewide recovery and academic acceleration investments are clearly having a positive impact,” Joy Hofmeister, state superintendent of public instruction, said in a press release. “These are encouraging results representing the hard work of our teachers, students and families.” 

In the table below, school districts’ scores are displayed by grade and subject and indicate the percentage of students who scored proficient or advanced, defined by the state as on track for college or career success. 

Asterisks indicate data withheld to minimize identifying individual students as required by federal student privacy protections.