DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) — New data shows how the pandemic years continue to impact students.
The National Assessment of Education Progress reports a significant drop in math and reading scores for 9-year-olds and 13-year-olds. Local leaders say some habits developed during the pandemic may be partially responsible for this loss of learning.
A significant factor is chronic absenteeism, which refers to missing at least 10% of the days in a school year. This includes both excused and unexcused absences.
According to the White House, the national average for chronic absenteeism doubled between the 2018-2019 to 2019-2020 school years.
“Yeah. So, we’re noticing here in Oakwood that there was a little bit of I’d call it a little bit of back slide with not having some securing knowledge because of not being in instruction every day of the week in person,” said Dr. Neil Gupta, superintendent of Oakwood City Schools.
Some local districts have offered supplemental services in math and reading to help remedy the learning lost, but in many cases damage has already been done.
“We don’t want teachers going back and spending weeks remediating, teaching them skills that they need this because the fear there is that they’re never going to get caught up,” David Taylor, superintendent for Dayton Early College Academy (DECA).
Taylor says before the pandemic, chronic absenteeism at his school was consistently in the 10-15% range. Now, DECA high schools average 10% and K-8 averages 26% absenteeism.
Working with students at home is vital to remedy the gaps in learning.
“But there’s no excuse to not make it a priority to have a half an hour’s one hour every day, be focused on literacy in math. And whether we’re in school or not in school should be a priority in every house,” said Taylor.
Taylor encourages parents during winter break to work one-on-one with kids at home. Older students should read independently and younger students with their parents.