TISHOMINGO, Okla. (KTEN) — Results from the National Assessment of Educational Progress show a decline in 4th and 8th grade reading and math scores in Oklahoma since 2019.

Administrators say it will take a considerable amount of time and resources to help students fully recover from learning loss due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In NAEP's 2022 report, released Monday, Oklahoma reading and math scores for 4th and 8th graders were lower than the national average.

"2021, it was a year of catch-up," said Tishomingo Elementary School Principal Brandon Moreland. "It's going to take probably multiple years for those kids to get caught up, but we are seeing progress at our school; 2022 compared to 2021, I am seeing progress in different areas."

Tishomingo Public Schools Superintendent Bobby Waitman said students continued to struggle with learning loss, even after closures in 2020.

"We've realized that when students are absent — even if they have access to digital instruction — it is not the same as the teacher in the classroom," he said.

Districts across the state are taking steps to help pinpoint the learning gaps that have resulted in lower test scores.

"We've implemented those programs ... so that we can have some assistance with diagnostics, to go in and assess students, find out what competencies that they are missing, and then build on those," Waitman said.

The Oklahoma State Department of Education has invested more than $230 million in federal COVID relief to help students recapture unfinished learning.

The NAEP results also showed a drop in mathematics scores for Texas students, but there was no significant change in reading levels between 2019 and 2022.