Reports show students are falling behind in school

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Jeff Chiu

SPOKANE, Wash. – It’s been a year of instability for many people, including students. The pandemic has had an effect on students’ learning, making some fall behind in school.

In the last year, students have been learning virtually, going to hybrid, then some went to full-time, in-person learning.

Studies show that constant change and learning virtually has put some kids behind in school, reflecting in some test scores.

The Northwest Evaluation Association (NWEA) compared math scores from fall of 2019 to 2020 with students in third through eighth grades. The studies showed students fell five to 10 percentile points lower in math.

Math scores were lower, on average, in fall of 2020 compared to prior years.

Curriculum Associates also reported there was more “unfinished learning” in math for students in all grades, particularly in elementary schools.

Another report released by the McKinsey and Company in December says learning loss in math could be “substantial,” forecasting students losing five to nine months of learning by the end of the school year.

In reading, the scores aren’t as low. NWEA says students scored similar percentiles compared to the fall of 2019. The McKinsey report says the outlook of reading is “more positive,” with students behind about a month and a half compared to prior years.

Looking toward the future, all three reports say students aren’t losing as much learning as they originally thought. Scores were lower in spring of 2020, but started climbing a little when they went back to in-person learning late fall.