Midwestern Students' Education Suffered Most, Says New Report

The pandemic has disproportionately impacted 9-year-old students in reading and mathematics, new study finds

click to enlarge Desks in an empty classroom.
The pandemic has impacted student achievement in the Midwest.

Midwestern students are the biggest regional losers on a new report released by the National Center for Education Statistics this week.

The study, which examined reading and mathematics scores during the COVID-19 pandemic, looked at long-term trends in assessments for nine-year-old students.  Across the U.S., students in this age group had scores that declined seven points in mathematics and five points in reading in the period from winter 2020 to the present and lower-achieving students' scores decreased more than those that were high performing.

"This is the largest average score decline in reading since 1990, and the first ever score decline in mathematics," the report states.

But when the data is sliced regionally, students in the Midwest suffered the greatest losses. In reading, students in the Midwest lost seven points, and nine points in mathematics.

The study notes that 70 percent of students in the Midwest reported learning remotely during the study period and that higher achievers tended to have greater access to technology, at least some quiet when working and a teacher on hand to help. But it is also quick to note that "these results cannot be used to establish a cause-and-effect relationship between the characteristics or experiences and student achievement."

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About The Author

Jessica Rogen

Jessica Rogen is managing editor for the Riverfront Times. She’s also the editor in chief of Boulevard, a literary magazine.
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