Nov 23, 2021 - News

D.C. students fall behind during pandemic

D.C. students sit in classrooms socially distanced

Photo: Evelyn Hockstein/The Washington Post via Getty Images

The grades are in from distance learning, and they show D.C. students have fallen behind.

Why it matters: Students across grades kindergarten through 8th ended the last academic year with lower math and reading achievement than before the pandemic, according to a new report from the nonprofit group EmpowerK12.

  • D.C. has long struggled to close the achievement gap. During the pandemic, children designated as at-risk, as well as Black and Latino students, were “disproportionately impacted,” the analysis said.

What they’re saying: “This important report confirms the toll this pandemic has had on our city’s learners — both academically and emotionally — after 18 months of virtual and hybrid learning,” Deputy Mayor for Education Paul Kihn said in a statement last week.

The details: EmpowerK12 analyzed local assessment results of close to 30,000 students in traditional public and charter schools.

  • Achievement rates went down for all student groups in spring 2020-21.
  • Fewer young children in early elementary school are reading on grade level. Reading levels among K-2 students dropped 18 percentage points from 2019 to 2021, according to the findings.
  • In the schools the report studied, students in grades 3 to 8 saw an estimated 5 to 6 months of “unfinished learning.”

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