According to the Associated Press, based on standardized tests conducted in the United States during the pandemic, approximately 800,000 students in Texas have maths below their grade level.
Texas State Education Commissioner Mike Morath said: “The impact of the coronavirus on the meaning of schools and the meaning of schools is indeed profound. It will take years of change and support to help children catch up.”
The report was released on Monday, detailing the state’s lowest reading score since 2017 and the lowest math score since 2013.
For more reports from the Associated Press, please see below:
Other states have shared previews of the shocking results.
In Florida, officials said that compared with 2019 (the last statewide exam), reading scores fell by 4 percentage points. In Indiana, state officials warned of a drop in reading scores and a “significant drop” in math.
Experts warned Low participation rate In some areas, the entire state may leave unreliable data, and even in the state, there are pockets for many families to opt-out. In Texas, 86% of students took the test this spring, which is below the typical rate of 96%.
Nonetheless, the early results provide some of the most reliable data, but detail the impact of school closures, shifts to virtual learning, and related disruptions in March 2020. They are also in line with the trend in national research in the past year: students lag behind in reading and lag behind in mathematics.
Among students of color and low-income families, the setbacks are the most obvious. Among all student groups, those who spend more time studying in person have better test scores.
Robin Lake, director of the Center for Public Education Reengineering at the University of Washington, said: “It’s a bit disgusting to see so many children drop out of school.” “Obviously, distance learning hits the most vulnerable children the most. This is what we expected, but still It’s hard to see.”
Moras said the results underscore the need for a strong return to face-to-face learning this fall. In many areas where students study online, the percentage of students who fail to meet math standards has increased by 32 percentage points. In contrast, in areas with more face-to-face learning, the failure rate increased by 9 percentage points.
This gap is larger than the gap between students based on race or income, but the data also found that white students score higher than their black and Hispanic peers, while students from wealthy families score much higher than students from poor families .
“These are not numbers, these are children,” Moras said. “This represents the extent of our support for their continued academic growth.”
He called for the restoration of school districts where face-to-face learning is slower, including in El Paso, saying that compared with the rapid reopening of classrooms in rural schools, they have seen more serious learning setbacks. According to state data, in the El Paso Independent School District, 64% of eighth graders did not meet math standards this spring, compared with 20% in 2019.
The president of the El Paso Teachers Association, Norma De La Rosa, said that teachers use virtual teaching to do their best, although the model prevents them from paying extra attention to children who may need it.
The El Paso region maintained online teaching until January, when the state threatened to withdraw funds from schools that did not offer face-to-face learning. During distance learning, some families spent a long time in Mexico, while many others struggled with Internet access. De La Rosa said that given these challenges, the test results are not surprising.
Clay Robison, a spokesperson for the Texas State Teachers Association, said the data show that face-to-face learning is irreplaceable. But he also said that providing families with opportunities for distance learning may prevent more people from dying from COVID-19.
“We are in the midst of a fatal pandemic, and we are sure that it has saved the lives of some students, saved the lives of some school employees, and saved the lives of some of their family members. This is necessary,” Robinson said. “Fortunately, most students and teachers in Texas have lived and studied for another day.”
In a typical year, Texas uses its annual test to grade schools and determine whether students can progress to the next grade. But state officials suspended these measures during the pandemic and said tests should be used to identify students who need help most. According to new legislation passed by lawmakers last month, all students who fail to meet the test criteria will have the right to receive intensive tutoring in the next academic year.
In Indiana, where test results are expected to be released this week, legislators passed a “keep it innocent” bill so that bad test results will not be used against teachers or schools. The state also allocated $150 million to address the problem of learning losses, most of which is used to fund the expansion of summer study programs.
After the Trump administration last year, students across the United States have a year to take federally required exams Suspend the exam When the coronavirus rages. But the Biden administration ordered the states to resume exams with new flexibility this year. The states were told not to order students to come to school just to take the test, and the Ministry of Education gave some states extra leeway to modify the test or reduce the number of test students.
Some states continue to push for complete cancellation of testing, including New York, Michigan and Georgia. The Ministry of Education rejected their request, but allowed Washington, DC to skip the exam because 88% of students are still learning remotely.
This unbalanced flexibility has drawn criticism from test advocates, who say it has caused the patchwork of state test plans. They said that because of the magnitude of the changes, it is difficult to have a clear understanding of the impact of the pandemic across the country.
Education experts pay special attention to students who will not appear in the new results. Researchers say that those who choose not to take the exam are more likely to be distance learning and may be the students most in need.
Lake of the University of Washington said she is worried about homeless students, as well as students who are learning English and students with special needs. She worried that they might be one of the “missing children” who did not take the exam.
“This is just the tip of the iceberg,” Lake said. “These numbers are the beginning of our understanding. Without rapid intervention, these children may continue to decline.”