North Billerica, MA, September 14, 2022
While more students are falling behind in foundational reading skills, some schools are bucking the trend with positive practice in the pandemic’s wake, according to new research released by Curriculum Associates today.
The first report, The State of Student Learning in 2022, analyzes reading and mathematics data gathered from nearly two million Grades 1–8 students during the 2021–2022 school year via the edtech company’s i-Ready Assessment tool. In a second report, Keys to Unlocking Success, Curriculum Associates identified 301 schools across the country at which students are exceeding learning expectations and conducted research to understand how school leaders are ushering their students and schools toward recovery.
“We’re beginning the third full academic year since the pandemic began, and many school communities are still grappling with the impact of the massive 2020 disruptions,” said Dr. Kristen Huff, vice president of assessment and research at Curriculum Associates. “The question is no longer if or how the pandemic affected student learning, it is if and how [the learning] can recover. It is critical to grow our understanding of what measurable shifts have occurred in student learning as we have more distance from 2020 and more investment in recovery efforts.”
The research provides new insights on student learning trends by examining student data in relation to grade-level learning benchmarks—rather than in comparison to other students—to provide a unique view of learning rather than rank. It compares 2021–2022 student data with mid- and pre-pandemic data and also offers qualitative insights on impactful practices for accelerating student learning from leaders at schools that are exceeding expectations.
The research shows there are particular and critical points in students’ mathematics and reading journeys where they are finding it harder to catch up. Student learning in the critical years of foundational learning—early elementary reading and upper-elementary and early middle school mathematics—suffered the greatest setback, with more students falling behind in building essential reading skills that they will need for the rest of their school years and lives. Additionally, students who were further behind before the pandemic are on the slowest trajectory to catch up to grade-level expectations. While data indicate improvements in achievement for historically marginalized students from spring 2021 to spring 2022, the learning inequities that existed long before and were exacerbated by the pandemic persist.
“Continuing to tell the story of the pandemic’s impact on student learning and schools’ recovery is essential,” said Tyrone Holmes, chief inclusion officer at Curriculum Associates. “Our communities and parents need and deserve to know how our students are progressing academically, our education leaders need to know how their schools compare to trends across the nation and hear stories of recovery, and the research community needs to continue to track the true impact to inform policy making.”
To learn more about Curriculum Associates’ ongoing research on student learning, visit StateofStudentLearning.com.
About Curriculum Associates
Founded in 1969, Curriculum Associates, LLC designs research-based print and online instructional materials, screens and assessments, and data management tools. The company’s products and outstanding customer service provide teachers and administrators with the resources necessary for teaching diverse student populations and fostering learning for all students.
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