(DC News Now) — Nationwide test scores in subjects like math, reading, writing, and science were released and reported as the first-ever drop in math scores for 9-year-olds and the first drop in reading scores for that same age group since the 1990s.
The scores released by the National Assessment of Educational Progress and the Nation’s Report Card revealed that in public school systems in the DMV all reported lower test scores at the fourth-grade level in reading. Furthermore, only one state meets the national average in math when compared to pre-pandemic scores. These sobering scores have parents and educators worried.
“The last couple of years have been such a disruption and it’s hard to know what the next few years look like,” Sara Doughton, DC Public School parent, said.
The DMV and West Virginia all reported reading scores at the fourth-grade level lower than the national average. For the same grade level, the District, Maryland, and West Virginia reported math test scores significantly lower than the national average. When comparing this to pre-pandemic scores, Maryland and Virginia met the national average in reading.
One Virginia parent says she’s worried about how virtual and hybrid learning have affected her children. She fears her children and others in their classes are not at the level of learning that they should be. She also worries about the impact of being away from the classroom during the pandemic and whether or not this has hindered their learning.
“Just from our experience, it was incredibly difficult to keep the kids engaged in virtual learning,” Connie Beninghove said. “You really had to stick with them which is hard if you have two working parents or if other people are busy in the house.”
Some educators tell me they are not surprised by the scores, saying the pandemic contributed to this but say it highlights a bigger issue.
“This is an opportunity for us to really step back and reimagine education so that we are supporting all our young,” Nancy Gannon, senior advisor for teaching and learning at FHI360, explained. “It’s really important to know that those are paired with mental health statistics that are equally concerning and contributing to that.”
One DC Public School parent hopes the needs and concerns of educators aren’t being left behind in this report.
“Whatever decisions are made just keep in mind that teachers and staff and administration need to be supported and need to be equipped and resourced,” Doughton said. “So anything that further overburdened them when they are already burned out and already overstretched and already doing so much to keep kids safe and engaged in learning that there would just be that consideration.”
D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser also addressed the test scores in a press conference on Monday saying that she’s not surprised by the scores but is working to support students in the district through high-impact tutoring programs that are available to all DCPS kids throughout the year