New NAEP Scores Reveal the Failure of Pandemic Academic Recovery Efforts
The results should be a wakeup call for the WCASD school board, whose priorities seem to have shifted from student learning to culture wars.
The new test score data from National Assessment of Academic Progress are unusual in that they put the results in the context of five decades’ worth of student performance. And the numbers are truly dire: In reading, average scores have declined to levels last seen in the 1970s, erasing decades of progress won through political blood, sweat, tears — and billions in public investments.
The latest NAEP scores are based on assessments administered between October and December 2022. That means the record-low achievement continued to be observed nearly two years after most schools reopened for in-person learning — after two years of much-heralded summer schools, intensive tutoring and other academic supports — and despite nearly $200 billion in emergency federal education spending.
The NAEP data also shed new light on why learning losses are so difficult to reverse: record chronic absenteeism. A survey taken with the exam last fall showed that only 75% of 13-year-olds reported missing two or fewer days of school in the previous month, and the number of students absent for a week or more during that same period had doubled since the pandemic began.
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What's clear is that academic decline is historic. Also clear: what the district has done to get kids back on track isn't enough. What can be done about this? Elect Alain Oliver, Amanda Greenberg, Peggy Schmitt, Nick Spangler, and Robert Rafetto to the school board in November.