Epidemic wiped out the progress of two decades of mathematics and reading

Author: Yuvi September 1, 2022 Epidemic wiped out the progress of two decades of mathematics and reading

National test results released Thursday clearly showed the pandemic’s devastating effects on American schoolchildren, with 9-year-olds’ performance in math falling to levels two decades earlier.

This year, after the National Assessment of Educational Progress first began tracking student achievement in the 1970s, 9-year-olds lost ground in math, and scores in reading fell by the largest margin in more than 30 years. Gone.

The decline was spread across nearly all castes and income levels and was significantly worse for the lowest-performing students. While the top performers in the 90th percentile showed a slight drop – three points in maths – students in the bottom 10th percentile reported a 12-point drop in maths, more than four times the effect.

“I was amazed by the scope and magnitude of the decline,” said Peggy G. Carr, commissioner of the National Center for Education Statistics, the federal agency that administered the exam earlier this year. The tests were given to a national sample of 14,800 9-year-olds and compared with the results of tests taken by the same age group in early 2020, just before the pandemic broke out in the United States.

High and low performers were falling apart even before the pandemic, but now, “the students at the bottom are falling fast,” Dr. Carr said.

In math, black students lost 13 points compared to five points among white students, widening the gap between the two groups. Research has documented a profound effect school closures had on low-income students and black and Hispanic students, as their schools were more likely to continue distance learning for longer periods of time.

Declining test scores mean that many 9-year-olds can demonstrate a partial understanding of what they are reading, less able to infer a character’s feelings from what they have read. In mathematics, students can learn simple arithmetic facts but add fractions with less common denominators.

Failures can have powerful consequences for a generation of children, who will have to move beyond the basics in elementary school to move on later.

Susanna Loeb, director of the Annenberg Institute at Brown University, said, “Student test scores, even starting in first, second, and third grade, have a lot to do with their success later in school and their educational trajectory overall. Quite a guess.” education inequality.

“The biggest reason to be concerned is the low achievement of low achievers,” she said. Being so behind, she said, can lead to school disruption, making it less likely that they graduate from high school or attend college.

National Assessment of Educational Progress is considered a gold standard in the test. Unlike state tests, it is standardized across the country, remains consistent over time and makes no effort to hold individual schools accountable for results, which experts believe are more reliable. Is.

The test results only offered a snapshot for one age group: 9-year-olds, who are typically in third or fourth grade. (More results, for fourth graders and for eighth graders, will be released on a state-by-state level later this fall.)

“This is a test that can speak clearly to federal and state leaders about how much work we have to do,” said Andrew Ho, a professor of education at Harvard and an expert on education testing who previously served on the board. who supervises the examination.

Over time, scores in reading, and math in particular, have generally trended upward or remained stable since the test was first administered in the early 1970s. This included a period of strong progress from the late 1990s to the mid-2000s.

But over the past decade, the marks achieved by students had dropped rather than reduced, while the gap between low and high performing students widened.

Then came the pandemic, which closed schools across the country almost overnight. Teachers taught lessons on Zoom, and students were struggling to learn online, sitting at home.

In some parts of the country, the worst disruptions were short-lived, with schools falling again. But in other areas, especially large cities with large populations of low-income students and students of color, schools remained closed for several months, and some didn’t fully reopen until last year.

National trial, Dr. Ho tells the story of “a decade of progress”, followed by a “decade of inequality” and then a “shock” of the pandemic, which came with a one-two punch.

“It eroded progress, and it exacerbated inequality,” Dr. Yes said. “Now we have our work finished for us.”

He estimated that losing one mark on the national exam takes roughly three weeks of learning. This means that a top-performing student losing three points in math can catch up in nine weeks, while a low-performing student who loses 12 points will need 36 weeks, or about nine months, to make landfall – And will still lag far behind more advanced peers.

There are signs that students – fully back to school – have once again started learning at a normal pace, but experts say it will take a longer than normal school day to fill in the gaps created by the pandemic.

Janice Kay Jackson, who led Chicago Public Schools until last year, said the results should be a “rallying cry” to focus on getting students back on track, and is now a board member of Chiefs for Change, a board member of the State Education and Education Department. represents the school. He called on the federal government to act with big ideas, implementing the Marshall Plan, an American initiative to help rebuild Europe after World War II.

“How dramatic this is to me,” she said, adding that politicians, school leaders, teacher unions and parents have to set aside the many disagreements that have erupted during the pandemic and come together to help students recover.

“No more arguments, and back and forth and vitriol and finger pointing,” she said. “Everyone should treat this crisis like it is.”

But the solutions can be rather basic, if they are difficult to carry out. Martin West, a professor at the Harvard Graduate School of Education and a member of the National Assessment Governing Board, which oversees the test, said low-performing students simply need to spend more time learning, regardless of tuition. Be it in the form of extended school days or summer school.

The federal government has budgeted $122 billion to help students recover, the largest single investment in American schools, and at least 20 percent of that money must be spent on academic catch-up. Yet some schools have had difficulty hiring teachers, let alone tutors, and others may need to spend more than 20 percent of their money to bridge the large gap.

“I don’t see a silver bullet,” Dr. West said, “beyond finding a way to increase instructional time.”

Author: Yuvi

My name is Yuvi, I work as Sub Editor at newscinema.in

1 September, 2022, 9:31 am

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