Catastrophic learning loss — Few NJ students ready to graduate
The New Jersey Department of Education has yet to release district-by-district test scores from the four days of standardized testing administered the spring. But the results that have been made public are alarming.
It has long been feared that learning loss during nearly two years of remote and hybrid learning would be significant.
When Newark school officials released test results earlier this month, proficiency in math had dropped to just 12.7%. Literacy fell to 26.2%
On Wednesday night, the Paterson Board of Education released their test scores during a Zoom meeting, showing a catastrophic learning loss.
Just 7.5% of Paterson students who took the test are proficient in math. Language arts proficiency was 7.8%.
The abysmal test scores mean fewer than 10% of Paterson students are deemed ready to graduate.
Test scores reveal 80% of students are in need of "strong support" in science, 76% in math and 58% in language arts.
There was never a question that New Jersey's pandemic policies regarding education would have a negative impact on student performance, and that urban districts would suffer the most.
Results from Paterson and Newark certainly bear that out.
With just 1 in 10 Paterson seniors deemed "graduation ready," it underscores how difficult it will be to catch students up in time to receive a diploma. It also stresses that there are some students who will never recover.
Prior to the pandemic, Paterson had made significant strides in proficiency and graduation rates.
"All the work we've done in the past was basically erased in a matter of two years with the pandemic," Assistant Superintendent Joanna Tsimpedes said.
Tsimpedes also said Paterson was not unique, but severe learning loss "is nationwide."
The Murphy administration released statewide scores last week and tried to put the best spin on a horrible situation. Acting Commissioner of Education Angelica Allen-McMillan revealed 39.4% of New Jersey Students are deemed graduation-ready in language arts and 49.5% in math. Those are the lowest scores since 2015.
Allen-McMillan boasted of her department having a plan to deal with learning loss, but provided few details. She did put out an "urgent call" for volunteers to serve as tutors for students.
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