“…the pandemic widened pre-pandemic test score gaps by race and economic status.”
By Matt Barnum
A pandemic that reshaped American society and disrupted more than a year of schooling also slowed progress in math and reading for millions of U.S. students, according to new national data, which confirms Black, Latino, and low-income students were hit hardest.
Younger students saw some of the biggest declines, as did students attending high-poverty schools. That means the pandemic widened pre-pandemic test score gaps by race and economic status.
“It’s not that the pattern is necessarily out of what I would have expected, it’s just like — oh my gosh, we’re going to have to really work hard to provide resources to these students to help them catch up,” said Megan Kuhfeld, a researcher with the testing group NWEA.
The results may turn out to be the clearest national accounting of the academic losses of last school year. The results are likely to encourage academic recovery efforts, though there is still some debate about whether those gaps should be schools’ top priority when students return in the fall.
The data released Wednesday by NWEA focuses on students in grades three through eight and compares their progress this year to similar students from before the pandemic. By the end of last school year, the typical student was behind where they would normally be — three to six percentile points behind in reading and eight to 12 points behind in math, with younger students faring worse than their older peers…
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