NAEP test scores published in October 2022 reveal a significant drop in Reading and Math achievement by 4th and 8th graders post-Covid. Chart courtesy of TheNationsReportCard.gov
Learn more about what recommendations educators on an SXSW EDU panel have for overcoming the “Unfinished Learning” gap created by Covid.
AUSTIN, TEXAS, UNITED STATES, June 14, 2023/EINPresswire.com/ — Educators Meet In Austin At The 2023 SXSW EDU Conference
In this Formaspace Education report, we look at the Education events that took place at the recent 2023 SXSW EDU conference held in Austin this past March.
A hot topic at the conference was how to interpret and react to the disappointing National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) test results that assess the learning achievements of current students.
Understanding The Context Of The Recent NAEP Achievement Test Scores
NAEP assessment tests have evaluated students since 1969.
Given this long historical record of measuring academic achievement trends, there was a lot of interest in seeing to what degree students fell behind during the Covid pandemic years, particularly in 2020 and 2021, when many schools pursued either distance learning or hybrid education models.
An initial batch of “post-Covid pandemic” results, which measured Reading and Math achievement scores among 4th and 8th graders, was released in September 2022, and they were disappointing.
Introducing The SXSW EDU Panelists Discussing The Impact And Lessons Learned From The NAEP Reading And Math Scores
On March 30, 2023, Denise Sport, President and CEO of the Education Trust, hosted a panel discussion to address the recent disappointing NAEP scores; her guests on the panel included:
– Adrienne Battle, Director of Metro Nashville Public Schools
– Stephanie S. Elizalde, Superintendent of Schools, Dallas Independent School District
– Melanie Kay-Wyatt, Interim Superintendent, Alexandria City Public Schools (Virginia)
Note to the Reader: On May 5, 2023, NAEP released additional achievement test scores in History and Civics, confirming the downward trends found in the Reading and Math test results released in September 2022. As the SXSW EDU education panel video was recorded on March 30, the panelists were unaware of these newest test results; nonetheless, their observations and recommendations remain highly applicable.
Unfinished Learning During The Covid Pandemic – Putting A Dollar Figure On What Was Lost
The topline messages from the SXSW EDU panelists focused on the long-term impact of “Unfinished Learning” – e.g. the gap in academic learning due to the Covid pandemic.
Two important statistical estimates were provided that underscore the seriousness of this issue.
The first is an estimate by Bellwether Education partners that as many as 3 million school-age youngsters went “missing” from the school attendance rolls during the pandemic. The Bellwether report, titled “Missing in the Margins: Estimating the Scale of the COVID-19 Attendance Crisis,” points out that students in foster care, students experiencing homelessness, students with disabilities, English learners, and migrant students were particularly affected.
The second estimate from the SXSW EDU panel concerns the economic cost of “Unfinished Learning.” According to analysis from the Edunomics Lab at Georgetown University in Washington DC, nearly 2 million middle and high school students would have scored in the proficient range of NAEP scores had the pandemic not occurred. This includes 700,000 students failing to master advanced-level mathematics, which according to the Edunomics Lab policy director Chad Alderman, implies that we need to reckon with having 700,000 fewer future scientists, engineers, computer scientists, and medical doctor graduates as a result of the pandemic.
Today’s Educators Face A Highly-Charged, Politics-Driven Educational Environment
The SXSW EDU panelists also lamented the highly-charged, politics-driven educational environment facing teachers today, which not only adds additional pressure on individual teacher professionals already challenged by efforts to help students overcome gaps in unfinished learning but also educational institutions, who are trying their best to retain and recruit teachers, despite low salaries and external pressures on the system.