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  • Writer's pictureRachel Langan

Incoming 9th graders need an extra year of school to overcome Covid learning loss.

The NWEA results show students who finished eighth grade this year need an additional 7.4 months of learning to reach pre-pandemic levels in reading and 9.1 months in math. Black and Hispanic students need even more extra instruction to get there, the data shows. (Summary, including charts and data can be viewed here.)

The NWEA results, point to the need for more efforts to support incoming ninth graders, but some districts that have tried to add school days or reconfigure the traditional calendar have faced stiff opposition. In the Los Angeles unified school district, the teacher's union fought a plan to add school days to the calendar, and in Richmond, VA, parents, teachers, and school board members pushed back on year-round schooling aimed at curbing Covid learning loss.

Pandemic recovery has essentially stalled for most of the nation’s students, new data shows, and upper elementary and middle school students actually lost ground this year in reading and math.

Researchers studying the pace of recovery worry that schools aren’t always straightforward with parents about the long-term effects of the pandemic.

“Schools never say to parents, ‘Hey I’m really worried that given these test scores or attendance patterns, I’m not sure that your kid’s going to go to college,’ ” Goldhaber said.


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