USBE: Reading, math Scores drop, but Utah students fare better than most states

The pandemic took its toll on fourth and eighth grade reading and mathematics results nationwide including Utah, but 2022 scores here did not fall as far mostly boosting Utah’s academic ranking among the states, according to data released today by the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), also known as the Nation’s Report Card.

“Utah students demonstrated remarkable resiliency during the pandemic relative to other students in the nation,” said State Superintendent of Instruction Sydnee Dickson said. “However, aspects of learning, like many other aspects of our lives, were negatively impacted. Teachers, parents, and students are aware of the changes in academic performance but can take heart in the additional efforts taking place to help all students be better prepared for successful outcomes and opportunities.”

Using the metric of average scale score, Utah fourth graders dropped from fourth best state in 2019 to seventh place in reading in the nation. Eighth graders rose from sixth to third best state in the nation in reading, NAEP reported. In state mathematics, Utah fourth graders rose from ninth best in 2019 to fifth. Utah eighth graders rose from 16th to second best in the nation, NAEP reported.

Nationally, fourth grade reading scores fell from 219 in 2019 to 216 and eighth grade reading from 262 to 259, both considered statistically significant drops. Utah fourth grade scores fell from 219 to 216, also considered statistically significant. Eighth grades scores, which fell from 267 to 265, were not considered statistically significant. Utah was one of 18 states that did not see a statistical decline in eighth grade reading, NAEP reported.

In mathematics scores in fourth grade fell from 244 in 2019 to 240 nationally and from 240 to 235 in Utah. In eighth grade national scores fell from 281 to 273, a significant drop. In Utah scores fell from 285 to 282, not considered statistically significant. Only Utah and the Department of Defense schools did not show a statistically significant decline in eighth grade mathematics scores, NAEP reported.

Utah received $900 million in federal emergency pandemic funding to help schools. While some of that funding went to health and physical safety spending because Utah chose to prioritize in-person learning, much of it went to addressing individual student learning needs to help accelerate our students or address learning gaps due to the pandemic, educational technology, afterschool and summer school programs, and student social and emotional supports, such as additional counselors and wellness rooms.

NAEP tests a representative sampling of students in states to provide nationally comparative data. In Utah, 1,700 students in each of the two grades and for both subjects took parts of the test. There are no individual school or districts results. More information is available at:

Utah 2022 4th Grade Mathematics
National 2022 4th Grade Mathematics

Utah 2022 8th Grade Mathematics
              National 2022 8th Grade Mathematics

Utah 2022 4th Grade Reading
              National 2022 4th Grade Reading

Utah 2022 8th Grade Reading
              National 2022 8th Grade Reading