Gaps in Reading Still Occurring Post-Pandemic

( – During the COVID-19 pandemic, multiple negative effects arose, and one of them was the loss in math and reading for Elementary and Middle school students.

The report was done by a team at the Center for Education Policy Research at Harvard University in conjunction with The Educational Opportunity Project at Stanford University. The research consisted of them looking into the first year of testing between Spring 2022 and Spring 2023 of school districts in 30 different states.

The study concluded that students were only able to recover about one-third of the losses that they experienced during the pandemic in math and one-quarter of the losses that they experienced during the pandemic in reading.

Dr. Thomas Kane who is the co-author of the report and the faculty director of the Center for Education Policy Research said, “Both of those gains were large by historical standards, but the gains in average achievement are masking the dramatic widening in achievement that happened between 2019 and 2022, and just the failure of many of the high poverty districts to catch up.”

The reports show that the districts will need about a year in recovery for math and two years for reading for students to catch up. Students in 14 states are one-third of a level behind in reading.

The reports showed that wealthier children scored better as many families paid private tutors to keep their kids on track during the pandemic. Families that weren’t as wealthy didn’t have the option to pay for a tutor to help their kids during the pandemic, resulting in lower scores.

Researchers told school districts that they should inform the parents of students who are not performing to standards to take steps to improve their progress. They also suggested summer school to these parents or to expand summer school learning if they don’t have it available so that these students have the opportunity to catch up on their academic skills. They also suggest schools invest in after-school programs or tutoring to help children as well.

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