Oregon students’ math and reading skills plummet after pandemic

The math, reading and writing skills of Oregon students have plummeted as a result of the pandemic and accompanying school disruptions, state education officials said.

Spring 2022 tests show students who were already behind before the pandemic had the most learning loss, but all children overall have lost ground compared to spring 2019 test results, officials said. Oregon Department of Education.

In grades three through eight, just 39% of students scored proficiency in reading and writing last spring, down from the previous low of 51%, and just 28% scored math proficiency, well below the previous low point of 40%, according to The Oregonian/OregonLive.

The tests administered last spring were the first reliable comparison with the pre-pandemic tests carried out in 2019.

Yet state schools chief Colt Gill issued a determined and even optimistic note, referring to the multibillion-dollar cash injection Oregon schools receive from $1 billion business taxes. a year for education, plus another $1 billion in federal pandemic assistance.

“The results tell us that we need to redouble our efforts on what we know works when we tackle unfinished learning,” he told the newspaper. “Districts can direct these funds…to accelerate academic learning and support mental health and wellbeing so kids feel truly ready to learn.”

In Oregon, contrary to most national findings on pandemic learning delays, white students fared no better than students of color during the school shutdown and disruption. From third to sixth grade, the proportion of white students, Latino students, and Indigenous students proficient in English or math all fell 8 percentage points from 2019 to 2022, according to analysis by The Oregonian. /OregonLive. Black students and students with disabilities experienced smaller declines, but had much lower proficiency rates to begin with.

A small portion of schools and districts defied disturbing statewide and nationwide trends.

Portland Public Schools, the state’s largest, saw no change in overall elementary reading and writing skills from 2019 to 2022 and its elementary students’ math performance was higher this spring. than in 2019. His colleges were a different story, however, as student skill levels drop significantly, especially in math.

Because fewer than 60% of 11th graders passed the English or math tests, high school results are unreliable, state officials said. That was true even before the pandemic, and state officials say they are scrambling to find ways to meaningfully measure how well high schools are helping students master academics.

The scores released Thursday are from Smarter Balanced assessments, which include open-ended questions and performance tasks as well as multiple-choice items. Nine other states, including Washington, also use Smarter Balanced tests to measure academic performance.

This story was originally published September 22, 2022 11:51 a.m.

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