Report Shows the Extent of Pandemic-Related Learning Loss
March 25, 2021 – Several assessments given to GCS students this year show the extent of the learning loss students have experienced since the start of the pandemic. The assessments also show the disparities between grade levels and races, as well as differences in scores between students who tested remotely versus in person.
The school board looked at the middle of year results of the Istation reading assessment for K-3 students, a state mandated assessment under Read to Achieve legislation. Northwest Evaluation Association (NWEA) MAP Growth assessments were administered as an alternative diagnostic assessment for students in grades K-10 in both reading and math. MAP assessments were optional for third-grade students, so their data were not included in the presentation.
MAP Growth data is used to help inform instruction and set learning goals for students throughout the school year as well as to help us better understand learning loss. Students took both the Istation and MAP Growth assessments in-person and remotely, although in-person test scores are shown to be more reliable in the early elementary grades as remote scores showed that students may have received support while testing.
The Istation results showed that for students who tested in-person in both January 2020 and January 2021, the average percentile change was -7.2 points, with first and third graders declining more and second graders declining less. White and Asian students outperformed Black, Hispanic and other students in Istation testing.
The MAP Reading assessment for elementary students showed that 47 percent of in-person kindergarten students tested at average or above, 37 percent of in-person first graders tested at average or above and 41 percent of in-person second graders tested at average or above.
Fourth and fifth graders had the highest percentage of students considered to be average or above among in-person test takers, at 57 percent for fourth graders and 56 percent for fifth graders. The MAP Reading assessment was optional for third grade students; therefore, these results are not reported. When looking at group differences, White and Asian students outperformed Black, Hispanic and other students on the MAP Reading assessment.
For in-person MAP Math testing, math proficiency ranged from 28.4 percent who were considered average and above in first grade to 48.4 percent who were considered average or above in kindergarten, with second, fourth and fifth grades falling in the middle. Third-grade MAP Math testing was considered optional and was not reported. White and Asian students outperformed Black, Hispanic and other students in MAP Math testing.
At the middle and high school level, all testing was done remotely, and participation was relatively low. MAP Reading performance among test-taking students in grades 6-8 was fairly consistent, with 67-69 percent of students scoring average or above. For ninth and 10th graders, 73-74 percent of students who took the test scored average or above in reading.
MAP Math performance among test-taking students rose from 56 percent for sixth grade to 65 percent for eighth grade. Seventy-seven percent of students who took the test in grades 9-10 scored average or above in math. White and Asian students outperformed Black, Hispanic and other students in reading and math for middle and high school.
These assessment outcomes were used to create strategies for mitigating the learning loss, which were also discussed at Thursday’s board meeting. For more on those strategies, click here.
For more on reopening schools, visit www.gcsnc.com/reopening.