National Report Shows Unprecedented Learning Loss as a Result of Pandemic Disruption

Learn more about Anne Wicks.
Anne Wicks
Ann Kimball Johnson Director, Education and Opportunity
George W. Bush Institute

Record breaking learning loss for our children due to COVID-19 virtual education

Mathematics and reading scores plummeted at unprecedented rates for 4th and 8th graders in the latest Nation’s Report Card. The assessment, given to students across the United States, showed an average drop of five points in reading and eight points in math, by far the largest ever measured.

Why does this matter:  We now have significant data proving that the pandemic’s disruption of schooling caused real harm to student learning and will have far-reaching consequences for our children.

What should we do: There are no quick fixes, but we must continue to tell the truth about student progress with comparable high-quality assessments. Outcome data help us understand where our kids are behind, making progress, and spotlight where improvement is needed.

Federal COVID relief funding for school districts can be put to work aligned with priorities shown in the outcome data. This is a time to invest in high-quality instructional materials and educator support to ensure that teachers and students have what they need to be successful in our classrooms.

We need to recreate time which means reexamining the school day to create more instructional time and providing access to tutoring to help our students get back on track.

The bottom line: No child was immune to pandemic learning loss, and parents and decision-makers should take notice.  Pandemic related learning loss is not a blip that will smooth out over time.  We all play a role in making this right for kids.  We need to creatively use our resources – people, money, and time – to ensure that students are prepared for their next steps. If not, we risk the future of a generation of children.

Click here to learn more about the Nation’s Report Card.