Student Falling

How Far Have Students Fallen Behind During Covid-19?

An analysis of data from 4.4 million students provides answers

You have probably wondered how far students have fallen behind in their learning during Covid-19.

You have probably also heard your fellow teachers offer an opinion on the topic that usually goes something like this . . .

“Students have fallen so far behind, they might never catch up”

Yet according to a recent study conducted by NWEA (the Northwest Evaluation Association), the answer to the question is more complex than that. And in some ways, the answer is not all discouraging. You can read an executive summary of the study’s findings here.

After studying data from nearly 4.4 million students in grades 3–8 who took MAP® Growth™ assessments in fall 2020, the authors of the NWEA study determined that:

  • In almost all grades, most students made learning gains in both reading and math since the COVID-19 pandemic started.
  • In fall 2020, students scored better than NWEA’s projections in reading, while math scores were in line with projections for grades 4–6 and slightly above projections in grades 7–8.
  • Some differences by racial/ethnic groups were emerging in the fall 2020 data, but the researchers concluded it was too early to draw definitive conclusions.
  • However, gains in math were lower on average in fall 2020 than prior years, resulting in more students falling behind relative to their prior standing.

To Quote from the Study . . .

“In some ways, our findings show an optimistic picture: in reading, on average, the achievement percentiles of students this fall are similar to those of same-grade students last year, and in almost all grades, most students made some learning gains since the COVID-19 pandemic started. However, the results tell a less rosy story in math: student achievement was 5 to 10 percentile points lower than the pre-COVID-19 performance by same-grade students last fall, and students showed lower growth in math across grades 3 to 8 relative to peers in the previous, more typical year.”

We Invite You to Explore Your Students’ College & Career Options with Us . . .

Students who participate in the National Career & College Pathway Study will gain new insights about making educational decisions that align with their interests, passions, and aptitudes. Participants will receive information on college and career opportunities that match their interests.

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