Archive for November 21st, 2022

More re: Covid learning loss

November 21, 2022

More research calibrates the problem.
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We previously posted that…

According to The Nation’s Report Card the pandemic school shutdowns took a near catastrophic toll … especially in math.

Pre-Covid, over 42% of 4th graders were considered proficient in math; that percentage slid to  36% during the Covid shut downs.

Similarly, pre-Covid, over 34% of 8th graders were considered proficient in math; that percentage slid to 26% during the Covid shut downs.

All of those numbers are pretty dismal.

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Moving the ball forward…

Researchers at Harvard and Stanford used the latest The Nation’s Report Card results to analyze the achievement drop in different school districts nationwide. Source: WSJ

As expected, there was a correlation between learning loss and the length of school shutdowns.

But, the learning loss was far greater than expected in poorer school districts (think: urban public school districts) than in better-to-do school districts (think: suburban public & private schools).

Said differently, evidence confirmed that poor children disproportionately suffered from pandemic-era disruptions.

In (poor) districts where 69% or more of students received lunch subsidies, children lost the equivalent of two-thirds of a year of math between 2019 and 2022.

In comparison, in (richer) districts where only 39% or fewer got free or reduced lunch, students fell less than half a year behind.

A case on point:

Falls Church City Public Schools is the second-most affluent district in Virginia, with an average household income of nearly $147,000.

There students fell less than 0.3 of a grade level behind in math.

In Richmond City Public Schools, where 93% of students qualify for free or reduced lunch,  children fell 1.96 grade levels behind.

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My Takeaways

> Reconfirmation that learning loss from Covid shutdowns “statistically” significant … as “little” as about 1/2 year in “richer” districts … up to 2 years in “poorer” districts”

> Concern that, while some parents are supplementing the schools with tutoring, etc., I’m still having a hard time hearing about or seeing any substantial, broadscale catch-up programs in our schools.

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Geez, even our lowly #27 worldwide ranking in academics is at risk… there’s lip service … the problem sure doesn’t seem top of mind.


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