In one of the most-trusted measurement of US student academic progress, the National Assessment of Educational Progress’ recent report shows unprecedented educational declines since school COVID “lockdowns” took effect.
The findings show the remarkable declines apply to every region in every state in the union. Specifically, students are suffering in areas of reading and math, which are historical measurements of educational achievement.
In grades 8 and 4, the performance levels in math fell by their largest levels on record. Fourth grade math scores dropped to 2003 levels. Eighth grade scores are now matching 2000 levels.
Overall, reading-achievement for both 8th and 4th grades are matching 1992 levels.
According to Peggy Carr, commissioner of the National Center for Education Statistics, said “The results show the profound toll on student learning during the pandemic, as the size and scope of the declines are the largest ever in mathematics.”
The report has noted, since schools have reopened, students are making up ground. However, their gains are small in consequential.
As research continues to measure the impact of school closures, it is becoming more evident students suffered in multiple areas – not just in education. While the loss in academic achievement was predicted throughout the pandemic, many experts are just now beginning to confirm what many of those who stood against school lockdowns and masking have been saying all along
By keeping children at home and expecting them to perform in a virtual environment, children spent more time on electronic devices and not developing social relationships with friends and family. Matt Prusiecki, superintendent of Indiana’s Decatur Township schools said, “The pandemic did set students back. Not only academically, but socially, emotionally — really in all facets of their growth.”
Additionally, it exposed them to negative home life situations, where parents were battling their own personal and professional lockdown-related stressors. According to UNESCO, adverse effects of these lockdowns policies can result in extremely harmful circumstances for children:
- Poor nutrition
- Increased exposure to violence and exploitation
- Social isolation
- Poor childcare
- Increased dropout rates
- Confusion and stress for parents, children and instructors
The effects of school lockdowns are expected to have lasting consequences, as many families are struggling to help their children heal from the damage the lockdowns caused. Experts have highlighted how the lockdowns exposed the politicization of a bureaucratic school system, and how they exacerbated inequalities between low and high-income school districts.