Test scores show historic COVID setback for children across US – Daily Local

COLLIN BINKLEY (AP Education Writer)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The COVID-19 pandemic has forced states and regions to pardon as it has caused historic learning disabilities for America’s children, erased decades of academic progress and widened racial disparities. did not do it. scale of the crisis.

Across the country, mathematics scores saw their biggest drop ever. His reading scores dropped to 1992 levels. Nearly four of his ten in eighth grade failed him to understand basic math concepts. No state had a significant improvement in average test scores.

These are findings from a national assessment of educational progress known as the National Report Card, which tested hundreds of thousands of 4th and 8th graders across the country this year. It’s the first time the test has been conducted since 2019 and is considered the first nationally representative study of the impact of the pandemic on learning.

Peggy Carr, commissioner of the National Center for Education Statistics, a branch of the Department of Education, said in an interview, “This is a serious wake-up call for all of us.” We believe there will be a significant impact on grades.In mathematics, we experienced a historic 8-point drop in this assessment.”

Researchers typically equate a 10-point gain or loss to roughly one year of learning.

It’s no surprise that the kids are behind. The pandemic has upended every aspect of life, forcing millions of people to study at home for months or longer. The results, released Monday, reveal the depth of these setbacks and the magnitude of the challenge facing schools to help students catch up.

Education Secretary Miguel Cardona said it shows schools need to double down on their efforts to use the billions of dollars Congress has given schools to help students recover.

“Let me be clear, these results are unacceptable,” Cardona said.

NAEP tests are typically taken every two years. From January to March, a sample of students in every state, as well as 26 of the nation’s largest school districts, was examined. Scores had stalled even before the pandemic, but the new results show a decline on a scale never seen before.

In both mathematics and reading, students scored lower than those tested in 2019. However, while reading scores declined, mathematics scores were the highest in the history of the NAEP test, which began in 1969. It plunged by the largest margin at .

Mathematics scores were the lowest in 8th grade, with 38% of grades considered ‘below basic’. For example, a cutoff that measures whether a student can find her third corner in a triangle if he is given two others. That’s worse than her 2019 result, when 31% of her 8th graders fell below that level.

No part of the country was exempt. Test scores fell in every region, and his grades fell in at least one subject in every state.

Some major districts saw test scores drop by more than 10 points. Cleveland saw the biggest single drop, recording a 16-point drop in fourth-grade reading and a 15-point drop in fourth-grade math. Baltimore and Shelby County, Tennessee also saw sharp declines.

Eric Gordon, Chief Executive Officer of Cleveland Metropolitan School District, said: To help students recover, the school system has stepped up summer school and added after-school tutoring.

“I’m not worried they can’t or won’t recover,” Gordon said. “I am concerned that the state will not continue to focus on involving children.”

Sonja Santelises, chief executive of Baltimore City Public Schools, said the city of Baltimore has expanded its summer learning program by adding small group tutoring to help students catch up. The district’s classrooms were closed from 2020 through most of her 2021 school year.

“School is important,” Santellises said. “Keeping the kids out of her school for two years doesn’t mean we don’t see the effects.”

The results show a reversal of mathematics performance, which had grown significantly since the 1990s. By contrast, readings have changed little in recent decades, so even this year’s relatively small decline has brought the average back to 1992 levels.

Of greatest concern, however, is the gap between students.

Racial inequality seems to have increased during the pandemic, confirming what many feared. In fourth grade, black and Hispanic students declined more than white students, widening a gap that has persisted for decades.

Inequality was also reflected in the widening gap between high-performing and low-performing students. In mathematics and reading, the worst-performing students saw the steepest declines in scores, widening the gap between the worst-performing students and the rest.

A survey conducted as part of this year’s test shows that disparity.

Studies have found that when schools transition to distance learning, high-achieving students are far more likely to have reliable access to quiet places, computers, and support from teachers.

The results make it clear that schools must address “longstanding and systemic shortcomings of our education system.”

“The pandemic has taken its toll on schools and communities, but that is no excuse,” he said. “We must remain committed to our high standards and expectations and help all children succeed.”

Other recent studies found that students who spent more time learning online experienced greater setbacks. However, NAEP results do not show a clear association. The results show that areas that returned to classrooms more quickly still saw significant declines, while cities that were more likely to stay remote longer actually saw slower declines than suburban districts.

Los Angeles can claim one of the few bright spots in the results. Nationwide, he’s the second-largest school district with a nine-point improvement in eighth-grade reading. For other districts, just keeping it up was a feat, as Dallas and Hillsborough County in Florida have achieved.

While test critics warn against overestimating exams like the NAEP, there is no doubt that the skills NAEP seeks to measure matter. Studies have found that students who take longer to acquire reading skills are more likely to drop out and end up in the criminal justice system. It is considered a pivotal time for developing skills.

For Carr, the results raise new questions about what happens to students who seem far behind in acquiring these skills.

“We want to prepare our students globally for STEM careers, science, technology and engineering,” she said. “This puts everything in jeopardy. It needs to be reset. This is a very serious problem that will not go away on its own.”


Bianca Vázquez Toness, an AP education writer in Boston, contributed to this report.


The Associated Press education team is supported by the Carnegie Corporation of New York. AP is solely responsible for all content. Test scores show historic COVID setback for children across US – Daily Local

Related Articles

Back to top button