Reading, math scores for 9-year-olds plummeted after pandemic

While this school year is getting off to a more normal start compared to the past two years, the disruption to classroom education during the COVID-19 pandemic is still having a big impact on students according to findings from a recent study.

Results released from the National Assessment of Educational Progress found that 9-year-olds who were tested in reading and math show the largest decline in performance in decades.

Hofstra University education professor Alan Singer says the findings should not be taken lightly.

"We risk having lost an entire generation," he said. "The school year needs to be extended, the day needs to be longer, we need to hire more teachers to pay more attention to students who need it the most." 

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The sample included nearly 15,000 9-year-olds from more than 400 schools. The scores could influence how state and district officials choose to spend their remaining COVID relief dollars.

"The prediction is at best, even with massive aid, it’s going to take a year for them to catch up," Singer said. 

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Third and fourth graders across the board are falling behind, but according to these results, it’s even worse for black and Hispanic students. 

"There were varying ways districts got ready for the pandemic," said Dr. Lorna Lewis, Superintendent of the Malverne School District. "The longer they took - the more you’re going to see the gaps."

Lewis says it’s about redefining what learning is, adapting to the new normal, and setting students up for success.

"We can’t come back the way learning used to be," Lewis said.