GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — New test scores on the National Assessment of Educational Progress show that the pandemic had an impact on Michigan students’ education.

The scores show our state’s reading scores for fourth-grade students went down seven points and roughly four points for eighth-grade students between 2019 and 2022. Math scores also dropped, four points for fourth graders and eight points for eighth graders.

Roughly 2% of Michigan’s fourth- and eighth-grade students in 260 buildings were tested between January and March of this year.

“The fact that this is a small sample size, particularly in the midst of a pandemic when it’s harder to draw conclusions about the population from which this sample is drawn… it’s harder it seems to me to generalize from these very small samples to the larger population,” Michael Rice, state superintendent, said.

Nationally, students’ scores are declining at a similar rate.

“Most states were adversely affected in, and by, the pandemic. That said, instructionally, we have a great deal of work to do,” Rice said in a press release.

This fiscal year, the state passed a budget that increased funding in a number of education-related areas.

In addition to a $450 per pupil increase in the student foundation allowance, the Fiscal Year 23 budget adds $246 million for students with disabilities, $235 million for economically disadvantaged students and $10 million for career and technical education. There’s also an additional $1.3 million for English learners, $575 million to address the teacher shortage, $245 million for children’s mental health and $210 million for school safety.

“This budget is a great budget that was negotiated by the state legislature. They worked together in a bipartisan fashion,” Rice said.

Aside from this budget, Rice believes that schools should expand their Great Start Readiness Programs and that parents should enroll their students.

“Whether funded with dollars already appropriated to local school districts by the state legislature or with a separate, expansive appropriation, we (also) need more tutoring of our young people,” Rice said. “We need trained tutors with high intensity, high-frequency tutoring…it can’t be one-and-done tutoring.”

Rice said while academic recovery will take time, the increased support teachers are getting help is helping accelerate learning.

“I think we’re going to reascend quite well. I happen to believe that many states will do similarly…” Rice said.