The results of the National Assessment of Educational Progress, known as The Nation’s Report Card, last fall gave us a clearer picture of the pandemic’s devastating impact on students — and the results weren’t surprising.
Compared to 2019, average scores — as well as students’ confidence levels — declined nationwide. The most troubling data from fourth graders showed that reading scores slid to the lowest since 1990. However, when looking at math, the declines in both fourth and eighth graders’ scores were the largest ever recorded. Nationwide, one-quarter of fourth graders and 40 percent of eighth graders in math were “below basic.”
Experts say the eighth-grade scores are especially troubling as those students who took the test last year are now in high school, where they will be confronted with higher level math that will prepare them for careers in STEM-related fields.
In Michigan, fourth-grade students recorded their lowest reading scores in 30 years (a drop from 32nd in the nation to 43rd in the nation). Scores in Michigan also declined in fourth-grade math and eighth-grade reading and math, but the declines were not as dramatic.
National Education Consultant Gary Abud Jr. says that parents can take an active role in helping their children succeed in school. He offers some tips:
Get to know your child’s teachers to understand expectations and create learning goals.
For elementary school children, work on math fact fluency (practicing addition, subtraction, multiplication, division facts) in simple ways, such as using flashcards.
When working through homework together, don’t focus simply on getting to the answer, but instead take time to have your child explain their process and make their thinking visible. Helping kids make sense out of what they are thinking and how they are thinking can help them better retain information and have a deeper understanding of the concepts they are learning.
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