New data published by the National Center for Education Statistics has shown that the COVID lockdowns have set student learning back decades, with the US having received a failing grade.
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According to recent data, two years have erased two decades’ worth of learning advancements.
Frequently referred to as “the nation’s report card.”
The National Center for Education Statistics publishes data from an examination given to about 15,000 students twice a year.
It displays the academic progress of American students in important subject areas.
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According to updated data released on Thursday, the nation has received a failing grade since the pandemic began.
According to Jim Wambach of Children Rising, “it’s not uncommon to see children maybe two grades below level, which is tragic in and of itself, but we’re seeing kids that are three and four grades below level.”
The COVID pandemic and subsequent lockdowns from the beginning of 2020 through the winter of 2022 caused a loss of learning that undid decades of advancement.
Statistics reveal that 9-year-old students are performing at levels not seen since the 1990s in both math and reading.
Both parents and educators are concerned about the trend.
“It was easy for the people who weren’t with them each day to say, ‘oh the kids they’re doing fine, they’re resilient, they’ll get through this.’ And we, the parents, who were at home were saying the kids are actually not alright,” said parent Viviane Safrin.
Although almost all groups experienced significant learning losses, students of color were disproportionately affected.
“I think part of that is because so many of our students of color in the state were already in schools that were under-resourced, under-invested in. And then you add a pandemic on top of that,” said Dr. Christopher Nellum of The Education Trust-West.
Parents and teachers have been working extra hard to catch up with their students ever since they switched back to in-person instruction.
But many continue to express concern about the long-term consequences.
“These academic numbers, I feel, are actually just the tip of the iceberg. They’re not even addressing the social and emotional losses that happened,” Safrin said.
Some people worry that the learning losses could follow us for years if more isn’t done to address them right away.
“I fear we’re going to see a cliff three, four, five years from now where we’re going to have a much higher rate of dropouts in high school and middle school,” said Safrin.