New Report Finds 71% of Ohio Eighth Graders Not Proficient in Math

In 2022, Ohio witnessed a concerning trend where over 70% of eighth graders were not proficient in math, as per a newly released study. Similarly, nearly two-thirds of fourth graders in Ohio struggled with reading proficiency.

The latest Annie E. Casey Foundation Kids Count Data Book revealed that the proficiency in math among Ohio eighth graders has worsened over time, with a staggering 71% not meeting the benchmark. This percentage has increased compared to 2019 when 62% of eighth graders displayed insufficient math skills.

According to Matthew Tippit, a policy associate at Children’s Defense Fund-Ohio, achieving these proficiency benchmarks is crucial to prepare students for future academic success and overall life accomplishments.

Ohio outperformed the national average, where 74% of American eighth graders lacked proficiency in math, as reported.

Moreover, in 2022, 65% of Ohio fourth graders were unable to meet reading proficiency standards—a slight increase from the 2019 figure. Nationally, 68% of fourth graders struggled with reading proficiency.

Ohio is gearing up to introduce a curriculum based on scientific research known as the science of reading. This approach emphasizes fundamental reading skills like phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension to enhance learning outcomes.

The state allocated $168 million toward science of reading initiatives in the last two-year budget.

The report also highlighted that over half (57%) of three and four-year-olds in Ohio were not enrolled in educational programs between 2018-2022.

Nationally, 30% of students (approximately 14.7 million) were chronically absent from school, indicating a concerning trend of missing at least 10% of school days in a year.

The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has significantly affected academic progress, leading to substantial losses in reading and math proficiency among students in the United States.

Addressing the learning loss due to the pandemic is crucial as up to $31 trillion of U.S. economic activity hinges on remedying the academic setbacks suffered during this period, as reported by the Hoover Institution at Stanford University.

Research indicates that failing to advance beyond lower math levels could significantly increase the likelihood of unemployment after high school.

Ohio ranked 28th in the nation based on various indicators, including an 18th position in the education category.


In 2022, nearly half a million Ohio children were living in poverty, representing 18% of the state’s child population. Additionally, 264,000 Ohio children resided in high-poverty areas, constituting 10% of the youth demographic.

Across America, 16% of children (11,583,000) were living in poverty in 2022, highlighting a national concern.

Matthew Tippit expressed deep concern over the ramifications of childhood poverty, noting its adverse effects on health, education, and long-term income prospects.

A significant portion of Ohio children, around 40%, have encountered adverse childhood experiences, including economic hardships and family disruptions, which can have lasting repercussions.

Ohio House Bill 352 aims to establish the Adverse Childhood Experiences Study Commission to propose legislative solutions to address these challenges, a bipartisan effort led by State Reps. Rachel B. Baker and Sara Carruthers.

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