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Student Test Scores Drop in Math Since Covid-19 Pandemic

In the News | November 23, 2020

Reporters Leslie Brody and Yoree Koh published an exclusive Wall Street Journal article detailing a recent report from Renaissance Learning Inc., which found that student test scores have dropped significantly in math since the coronavirus pandemic shut schools in March. Brody sought perspective about these assessments, their validity, and concerns about COVID-19 slide. She interviewed MƒA President John Ewing for the piece: 

“[Ewing] said most students are resilient and bounce back after having the wrong teacher or a long absence due to illness, so the real priority should be helping disadvantaged children who lack technology and support to join online classes.

‘I worry a lot about the kids that don’t have the tools they need to thrive or even survive,’ he said. ‘We ought to be laser-focused on those kids.’” 

Brody and Koh wrote that, according to the report, it would take students in grades five and six at least 12 weeks on average to catch up to where they were expected to be in the fall in math, compared with pre-pandemic skills. Children in grades two and three would need four to seven weeks to catch up in math, while those in grades four, seven, and eight would need eight to 11 weeks. Ewing presents a counterpoint to the prevailing narrative: 

“John Ewing, president of Math for America, a nonprofit that helps math and science teachers advance, said Americans focus too much on test scores.” 

Read the full Wall Street Journal piece, “Student Test Scores Drop in Math Since Covid-19 Pandemic.”