A national reading and math test that has long been used to track U.S. student achievement is the latest postponement amid the coronavirus pandemic, officials announced Wednesday.
Concerns over the accessibility of the National Assessment of Educational Progress have postponed the test to 2022, the National Center for Education Statistics said.
The National Assessment of Educational Progress, typically occurring every two years, had been slated early next year for hundreds of thousands of the country’s fourth and eighth graders.
The national assessments are given to a representative sample of students, from all socioeconomic backgrounds, across the 50 states. It is overseen by the government.
Too many students are receiving their education through distance learning or are physically attending schools in locations where outside visitors are being barred from entering, said NCES Commissioner James Woodworth in a statement.
"The change in operations and lack of access to students to be assessed means that NAEP will not be able to produce estimates of what students know and can do that would be comparable to either past or future national or state estimates," he wrote.
Reading scores drop, math scores low. Will high school seniors be ready for graduation?
The test's postponement is the latest to affect student testing around the country. Many colleges have now gone SAT/ACT optional in the wake of accessibility issues in the pandemic. Some graduate schools are even making the Graduate Records Examination, MCAT or LSAT optional for applicants.
But the decision also delays data that could help show how the pandemic is impacting learning, in a nation already suffers from low scores in reading, English and math.
The average reading score for high school seniors has dropped between 2015 and 2019, while math scores for those soon-to-be-graduates remained flat, according to 2019 national test results.
Still, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos wrote Tuesday in a letter to Congress and the Center that "the much more valuable and actionable measures of learning loss will be the annual assessments required of states."
Her letter also noted that because NAEP is federally mandated, Congress would need to sign off on postponing the national testing for a year.
Contributing: Erin Richards, USA TODAY; The Associated Press
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: COVID-19 forces postponement of national math, reading tests to 2022