Research shows that national test scores in the United States are still well below average.
The last two years saw a dramatic shift in education, with many schools responding to the pandemic by relying on remote learning or a hybrid teaching style combining both in-person and remote learning for students. Unfortunately, many schools and students were ill-equipped for the significant changes, and the end result appears to be a disaster for student’s test scores (to say nothing of their mental health). Unsurprisingly, test scores dipped dramatically under the circumstances.
Unfortunately, they still haven’t recovered.
As The Brookings Institution reports:
As we outline in our new research study released in January, the cumulative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on students’ academic achievement has been large. We tracked changes in math and reading test scores across the first two years of the pandemic using data from 5.4 million U.S. students in grades 3-8. We focused on test scores from immediately before the pandemic (fall 2019), following the initial onset (fall 2020), and more than one year into pandemic disruptions (fall 2021)…the math drops are significantly larger than estimated impacts from other large-scale school disruptions, such as after Hurricane Katrina”
While the impact of remote learning hasn’t been fully explored, data suggests that virtual learning “might present more risks than in-person instruction related to child and parental mental and emotional health and some health-supporting behaviors.” Nearly all — more than 97% — of educators reported seeing some learning loss in their students over the past year when compared with children in previous years, and a majority, or 57%, estimated their students are behind by more than three months in their social-emotional progress, Horace Mann found.
The Hill adds:
“What we consistently found across all grade levels was that this year students typically began school somewhat lower in terms of their overall performance,” Dr. Gene Kerns, Vice President and Chief Academic Officer of the company, said. “That was the bad news — performance down a bit more year over year.”
As of late 2021 and early 2022, many schools have been returning to in-person learning. So far, the attempt to return to pre-pandemic level test scores appears to have been a moderate success, with a study released this week by standardized test provider Renaissance Learning Inc. revealing that a return to in-person learning in the latter half of the last school year saw standardized test scores improve across the county.
However, students are still lagging well behind pre-pandemic levels, and time is literally running out, according to the study:
“TIME IS OF THE ESSENCE IN CATCHING STUDENTS UP. CHANGES IN OVERALL STUDENT PERFORMANCE WILL NOT BE MITIGATED UNTIL WE ARE ABLE TO ACHIEVE ABOVE-TYPICAL GROWTH … OVER MULTIPLE SEASONS. NOW MORE THAN EVER, WE NEED TO PRIORITIZE INSTRUCTION ON SKILLS THAT ARE MOST ESSENTIAL FOR PROGRESS.”
While the progress is slow going, and there may be no easy solution, Dr. Kerns is hopeful that these numbers will continue to trend upwards. “We cannot undo a pandemic,” he told The Wall Street Journal, “but teachers should still be looking for growth in students all the same.”
The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the positions of American Liberty News.