Many schools across the country are coming up with new plans to deal with so-called pandemic learning loss that’s impacting students.
Some of the latest data shows that testing results for basic math and reading skills are 15 to 20 percent below pre-pandemic levels.
The problem is even more dramatic in some states than others.
The COVID-19 pandemic left its mark on students who were forced to learn at home when schools suddenly closed their doors for months or longer.
“Schools that stayed shuttered the longest have seen the largest learning loss,” Virginia Secretary of Education Aimee Guidera explained.
Data from the National Assessment of Educational Progress - otherwise known as the nation’s report card- shows a drop in reading by four points, and nine points in math when compared to scores from three years ago, before the pandemic started.
New blog! 🔎 How might increases in student absenteeism during the pandemic be related to the recent NAEP score declines? NCES has been analyzing the data with @WhiteHouseCEA. Read our latest post: https://t.co/McoxkpUYKe #BTS #attendance pic.twitter.com/e3KqnBALrm
— NAEP, The Nation's Report Card (@NAEP_NCES) August 30, 2023
The federal government has been trying to send money to schools to help offer more programs. Now, states are also budgeting tens of millions of dollars intended to go to schools.
A bulk of the funding is meant to be used on individual tutoring.
“That’s what that money is for, and it needs to be put to work quickly,” Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin said.
Some educators say they also worry that kids are missing more school now than before the pandemic, saying the absentee rate is double what it was, and impacting how much students learn.
However, when it comes to solutions for bridging the learning gap, some fear there’s no clear answer.
“We are grasping at straws,” University of North Carolina Chapel Hill Professor of Educational Measurement and Evaluation Gregory Cizek said. “We are grasping at every possible thing we can throw at it to address what was a massive issue.”
Officials in Tennessee have just added a new state law aimed at improving literacy. Young students in elementary school there have to repeat a grade if they can’t meet the testing requirements to advance.