Principal - May/June 2021 - 6

First Bell

Nug get s of research , polic y, and prac t ice to ke ep you infor me d

Pandemic Closures Affect Academic
Growth Less Than Expected
Research released by NWEA in November 2020 says that students are
making steady gains in reading but
experiencing modest setbacks in math
resulting from school closures related
to COVID-19.
The follow-up to a study released
by NWEA in April 2020 comparing the
potential academic impact of COVID-19
and summer learning losses, " Learning
During COVID-19: Initial Findings on
Students' Reading and Math Achievement and Growth, " analyzed the results
of nearly 4.4 million U.S. students' fall
2020 MAP Growth assessments.
Key findings include:
*	Average scores for math were 5 to
10 percent lower for students in fall
2020 when compared to same-grade
students in fall 2019.
*	In almost all grades, most students
made some learning gains in reading
and math since the start of the
COVID-19 pandemic. But gains in
math were smaller, on average, in fall
2020 than in prior years, resulting in
more students falling behind relative
to their prior standing.
*	Some differences emerged from fall
2020 data when sorting students
according to racial and ethnic background, but NWEA says it is too early
to draw definitive conclusions.
" Preliminary fall data suggests that,
on average, students are faring better
than we had feared, with continued academic progress in reading
and minor setbacks in math due to
COVID-19-related school disruptions, "
says Beth Tarasawa, executive vice
president of research at NWEA. " While

*

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M A Y / J U N E 2 0 2 1 * N A E S P. O R G

there's some good news here, we want to stress that not all students are represented in the data, especially from our most marginalized communities. "

Mitigating the Impact
NWEA's recommendations to mitigate the impact of school closures include:
*	Continue federal and state funding to school districts impacted. A safe return to classrooms and additional interventions will require more funding; federal
and state policymakers are urged to continue to provide such funding to address
the lingering impacts of COVID-19 on children and school systems.
*	Report data transparently to target resources effectively. School leaders,
districts, and states should collect and transparently report data on students'
learning opportunities, academic achievement, and social and emotional well-‚Äč
being to inform a broader understanding of unmet needs.
*	Equitable access to high-quality math teaching and learning. NWEA advises
a continued focus on meeting students where they are in their learning, not where
they normally would be. In math, that might mean figuring out how students think
about math rather than how well they perform math procedures.
" While our research highlights concerns, especially for math, the results show signs
of optimism that is a reflection of a strong determination to serve our students, " says
Chris Minnich, NWEA CEO. " Since schools initially closed in March [2020], we've seen
educators and families step up and pull together in new collaborations to meet the
challenge of instruction during COVID. But data shows that school isn't working for all
students, so we must continue to provide support. "
Visit nwea.org/covid-impact to access the full report.


http://www.nwea.org/covid-impact http://www.NAESP.ORG

Principal - May/June 2021

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