Student academic performance scores have dropped
School districts are quietly discussing student performance results for this school year, and the news is what you might expect. While many districts are operating under federal and state waivers regarding academic performance tests, the unofficial results show a drop.
Ken Zeff, a former superintendent for Fulton County Schools in Georgia, said every bit of data is helpful. So even though the results are unofficial this year, Zeff said “We should look at it and just recognize that we’ve had a dip in learning”.
The iReady test, administered nationally by Curriculum Associates, shows that performance “plummeted for all students compared to the last time it was given before the health crisis began. Nearly three million students took the test both times.” This decline in student performance is mirrored in the standardized test results that various states are reporting.
“This is a disaster. The bottom has fallen out, and the results are as bad as you can imagine,” said Michael Petrilli, president of the conservative Thomas B. Fordham Institute. “We haven’t seen this kind of academic achievement crisis in living memory.”
What can parents do?
Parents do have options when it comes to helping students recover academic loss and improve test scores and grades.
44 states and the District of Columbia now offer a charter school option to students in public schools, at no cost to parents. Charter schools give parents the option of moving their child out of a school where they may not be thriving, to a school that has higher quality programs and teachers. By 2018 (the latest year for which data is available) 7% of all public school students were in charter schools.
These are free public schools that concentrate on specific skill areas and usually deliver a higher quality educational experience. Students interested in STEM or the arts, for example, can find programs that work for them in magnet schools. The downside is, since they are free public schools, there is often a waiting list to get in.
There are many different types of private schools, including traditional private schools, boarding schools, Montessori and Waldorf schools, and parochial or religious private schools. For families who can afford it, private schooling offers the most parental influence and freedom of choice. These tuition-based schools do sometimes offer scholarships.
Homeschooling is legal in all 50 states, and because it offers flexibility, innovation, and customization, is becoming more popular. Due to Covid and parents working from home, more families are opting to homeschool their children. According to Focus on the Family, homeschooling is “a flexible learning format where parents can weave learning preferences, curriculum, lifestyle, home responsibilities, career, and family needs into a holistic picture of what it means to learn together.”
Regardless of the type of school a student is in, all students can take advantage of private tutoring support. Having the undivided attention of a highly qualified teacher/tutor who spends one-on-one time focusing on an individual student gives a student a great advantage. Whether a student is falling behind, finds it challenging to learn new material in a group setting, or is just having difficulty with a specific subject, project, or concept, tutoring can help them overcome. No matter what type of classroom situation a student has day-to-day, getting one-on-one attention and support is extremely difficult. Teachers have to divide their time among multiple students while tutors can personalize lessons to suit the individual.
It will take some time for our public schools and students to make up the losses they have suffered due to the Covid pandemic, closing of in-person schools, and the focus on remote group learning. McKinsey & Company published the results of their research into recovering from the pandemic, and one of the things they found was “Disruptions to learning are not over, and student attendance rates lag significantly behind pre-pandemic levels. While actual closures of whole schools or districts have affected just 9 percent of students, quarantines and other disruptions have affected 17 percent of in-person students. On top of school closures, absenteeism rates have risen, with 2.7 times as many students on a path to be chronically absent from school this year compared with before the pandemic.”
While school districts have access to funds to support educational programs, including academic and mental-health recovery programs, they don’t seem to be allocating the funding to the programs parents want. For example, they are allocating 34 percent of funding to summer school and after-school programs, and only 7 percent of funding for tutoring. But parents are four times more interested in tutoring services for academic recovery than summer school.
Start 2022 off right – get tutoring help
This means that in many instances, parents are on their own to pay for tutoring support to help their child recover academically. For more information on the high-quality personalized tutoring services we offer, at affordable prices, please fill out the form below.