The long-term impact of interrupted learning during the past two years is becoming more evident, as a report released last month by Renaissance Learning provided new insights into students’ academic recovery. The report, How Kids Are Performing, compared data on students’ academic growth in reading in math from the first half of the 21-22 school year with the same period last year. The analysis included only students who had taken the STAR assessments for literacy and math both years. The sample includes 4.4 million assessments for reading and 2.9 million math assessments from all 50 states and is the first report to gauge academic progress (growth) during the current school year.  Dr. Gene Kerns, Vice President and Chief Academic Officer at Renaissance, noted that “All signs suggest that this is going to be a multi-year recovery.”

Among the key findings:

  • Nationally, as well as in Texas, students are performing lower overall this year compared to last year, suggesting that interrupted learning is having a compounding effect on student achievement.
  • Although growth from the first half of the current school year was stronger than the first half of last school year, it remains below typical growth in most grade levels and among most student and school groups.
    • For literacy, the percentage of Texas students at or above benchmark decreased by 4%, while nationally the percentage decreased by 2%. While the growth rates of Texas students in literacy increased 4 points on the Student Growth Percentile scale to 44 (a larger increase than seen nationally), the overall rate remains slightly behind the national mean of 48.
    • For math, the percentage of students at or above benchmark decreased by 3%, compared to a national decrease of 2%. Academic growth in math for students in Texas and nationally was up 3 points to 48 on the Student Growth Percentile measure, trending slightly behind the national mean score of 50.
  • An area of particular concern within the data is early grades literacy. For grade 1 especially, the results indicate a concern for how school disruptions have slowed the development of foundational literacy skills. Grade 1 literacy showed the greatest decline of any grade and subject level.

Dr. Kerns noted, “We can reset instruction back to where it was pre-pandemic, but that isn’t going to instantly move students up to where they would have been if the pandemic had not occurred. For example, if you worked out every day and then stopped for two years, you aren’t going to be in the same shape as before the break when you simply return to the gym. We know what to do—and educators are rising to meet this great challenge—but it’s going to take time.”

With strength and resilience, educators and students are working out academically to rebuild learning this school year.

More information:

How Kids Are Performing | Renaissance

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