The Nation’s Report Card (National Assessment of Educational Progress results) was published last month, confirming our fears surrounding the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic – severe learning loss around student math and reading performance.
There has been a 3-point decrease in fourth-grade reading scores compared to 2019. In fourth grade, the average reading score was lower than all previous assessment years going back to 2005 and was not significantly different compared to 1992. This being the first NAEP release since the COVID-19 pandemic, it is no surprise that we see these drops.
108,200 fourth-grade students across 5,780 schools participated in the 2022 NAEP reading assessment. The NAEP reading framework measures students’ comprehension skills through the use of literary and informational texts.
Thirty states/jurisdictions saw a decrease in fourth-grade reading scores. Among these states/jurisdictions, seven scored lower than the national average, and three scored higher, with the other 20 being in line with the national average.
Only 33 percent of fourth graders were deemed proficient and above in reading, according to this year’s report. In 2019, 34% of fourth graders and 27% of eighth graders scored below proficient in reading, and this year, those groups grew to 37% of fourth graders and 30% of eighth graders.
Pandemic-caused disrupted learning has created learning hurdles for all learners, with the greatest impact being on our youngest learners, who are in the formative years of learning to read. “This must be a wake-up call for the country that we have to make education a priority,” Beverly Perdue, chair of the National Assessment Governing Board, which oversees the test, said in a statement.
Educators Must Act Quickly
We know as students move up in grades, the remediation process is four times as difficult. This has left many school districts on the hunt for evidence-based, research-proven solutions to help combat the learning loss caused by interrupted instruction.
Only 11% of students in fourth grade had teachers who reported being “extremely confident” in addressing knowledge and skills gaps, with 36% of reading teachers being “quite confident.” Teachers need to be empowered with the tools to teach literacy at all levels if students are not reading proficiently. Teachers need professional development and curriculum to meet children where they are.
The sobering report makes it even more apparent that we need to empower our teachers with systematic, cumulative, and explicit instruction in structured literacy for the K-2 population.
IMSE offers educators the opportunity to learn the “hows” and the “whys” behind Structured Literacy. This explicit approach to reading proves beneficial for all students as they jump the hurdles brought on by the pandemic.
IMSE also offers educators tools that can be used in the classroom and through remote learning to ensure students are making gains both at home and in the classroom. Just hear what this IMSE-trained educator had to say!
“One word: Amazing! I actually took the comprehensive training twice. The first time I took the training, it was in person. I enjoyed the training so much that I encouraged my district to allow the entire elementary staff to get trained! The second time it was virtual. We had such a great time that we had “The Original OG” t-shirts made! It is unquestionably the best professional development I have ever had. I walked away, ready to implement all that I had learned. Since I became trained, I have been working with one of my classes for 3 years. I have had the privilege of watching this group grow, through a pandemic, into one of the most successful groups of readers in our building. This particular class has some of the highest reading achievement averages in our school. Did I mention that this is an awesome group of kids? They have been able to adjust from in-person, to zoom, to videos and back to in-person without skipping a beat. I feel that this program helped to hold us together. It is so systematic that it was the one thing that could stay the same for the kids in a world that was changing all around them. It has been nothing but a pleasure to work with these students, their families, their cooperating teachers, and of course, the wonderful IMSE folks that are always there to support me! I plan to continue in my OG journey, and I can’t wait to see where this adventure takes me! – Erin Lyke, SPED Teacher at Roxbury Central School
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