Test scores among Fayette kindergarten through eighth graders fell after school buildings shut down due to the coronavirus and students learned from home.
Brooke Stinson, Fayette interim associate director of assessment literacy, presented the spring scores of the Measures for Academic Progress, or MAP, testing to the Fayette County Public Schools board on Monday.
The test, a universal screener, measures what a student knows and is ready to learn. Schools use it to improve teaching and learning. The test measures growth over time. It measures a student’s instructional level and measures a student’s progress. It measures how a student compares with others at the same grade level.
Kindergarten students dropped from 183 before COVID to 157 during COVID in reading and from 165 before COVID to 161 during COVID in Math. All first through eighth grade scores were lower during COVID than before COVID in reading and math. For example, first graders scored 182 in reading and 174 in reading during COVID. Seventh graders scored 231 in math before COVID and 227 during COVID.
Percentiles express how a student performs in comparison with students at the same grade level.
In percentiles, there were decreases in every grade from kindergarten and first grade to eighth grade in reading. For example, in first grade, students dropped from the high nineties in reading before COVID to the 54th percentile during COVID.
There was also a decrease across the district in math in all grades. Third graders, for example, were in the 84th percentile in spring 2019, but the 35th percentile in spring 2021.
Despite the drops, in the spring, first through eighth graders scored higher than the national norm in reading. First, fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth were higher than the national norm in math. Second, third, and fourth graders were not. Fayette kindergarten students scored four points higher than the national norm in reading and in math.
Kindergarten through eighth graders and a limited number of high schoolers take the tests three times each year, including spring.
Despite the declines, Stinson said students were learning over the past year and teachers were teaching.
School Board chairman Tyler Murphy said despite the decreases during COVID, there was specifically growth from fall of 2020 to spring of 2021, just not the same level of growth that the district had been accustomed to.
District officials haven’t yet showed how diverse groups performed or if the achievement gap had worsened during the coronavirus.
School board member Stephanie Spires said although students still have room to grow, she’s not hearing from teachers that they aren’t going to catch up.
There was learning outside MAP testing, Spires said.
She said kids learned how to ZOOM or make meals.
Teachers, Spires said, are saying, “We are on the right track. We will make up this loss.”