Pandemic-era school shutdowns caused decades of student learning loss, federal report shows

By Casey Harper | The Center Square

A new federal report shows that the nationwide shutdown of schools during the COVID-19 pandemic led to historic learning losses for students.

The Department of Education released data Thursday showing that national test scores declined the most in decades.

“Average scores for age 9 students in 2022 declined 5 points in reading and 7 points in mathematics compared to 2020,” the report said. “This is the largest average score decline in reading since 1990, and the first ever score decline in mathematics. This Highlights report compares performance on the NAEP long-term trend reading and mathematics assessments for age 9 students from the winter of 2020 to results of long-term trend assessments in the winter of 2022.”

The report shows that minority students were hit hardest.

“In mathematics, the 13-point score decrease among Black students compared to the 5-point decrease among White students resulted in a widening of the White−Black score gap from 25 points in 2020 to 33 points in 2022,” the report said.

Many blamed the pandemic for the learning loss, but others argued the losses could have been avoided if schools had remained open.

“Utterly indefensible,” said U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, after the data was released. “This is what Dem school shutdowns have done to our kids.”

The report found that technology and the home learning environment was key to a students’ success.

“Of the 70 percent of 9-year-olds who learned remotely during the 2020–21 school year, higher performers (those at or above the 75th percentile) had greater access to a desktop computer, laptop, or tablet all the time; a quiet place to work available some of the time; and a teacher available to help them with mathematics or reading schoolwork every day or almost every day compared to lower performers (those below the 25th percentile),” the report said.

Image courtesy of Public domain
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4 thoughts on “Pandemic-era school shutdowns caused decades of student learning loss, federal report shows

  1. The real failure here was and is, the failure of the people in control not listening to the will of the people- the Taxpayers!!

    MANY parents saw all of this coming with their own kids and began immediately fighting all that was going on that was setting their kids back.. need I remind you that these kids that were totally failed are the future of our nation. This was an act of war to see our future generations back like this.
    No one listened to these parents and the people fighting with them and for them..
    Now we see this and we say “We Told You SO”.
    That is the Failure.
    They didn’t listen to the Will of We The People.
    They commited crimes against humanity and they will be held accountable.
    Which is why we see Biden doing his red speech and saying we are all a threat– yeah, to the people that did this to our country and to the world !!

  2. I wouldn’t trust much of anything that came from a “federal report”.

    Most likely they will use this as an excuse to short-change our kids on getting any education about civics, and how our Representational Democracy works at the local level. It’s a real shame, as our system relies on a well educated electorate. Do they even teach civics in high school anymore?

    Or maybe they want to dumb down the next generation even more, on purpose? Much easier to control them through media that way…they won’t question anything! Or be able to think for themselves, and will rely totally on what the big brother elitist say!

  3. Keep in mind that the NAEP assessments referenced here are taken voluntarily. And fewer than 5% of the student population are tested. Typically, the NAEP test cohort consists of better performing students. But in Vermont, for example, the State’s Agency of Education assessments, that all students are required to take annually, are a better indicator of student performance.

    In 4th grade, for example (the 9 year old cohort referenced in this article), 51% of Vermont public schools students failed to meet grade level in math. By 8th grade, 58% failed to meet grade level.

    In 4th grade, 54% of students failed to meet grade level standards in science. By 8th grade, 74% of the students failed to meet grade level.

    This trend has been ongoing since long before the Covid Pandemic, and I suspect our public school educators are trying to deflect blame for this poor performance to recent school closings when, in fact, the educational dysfunction has been decades in the making.

    • I would agree Jay Eshelman, and student enrollment has been on the decline for the past 20 years……
      The Blame game is alive and thriving
      Government schools have been short changing our children for a very long time. choice is the only answer now, $follow child……competition….improvement

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