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Students’ testing scores drop during the pandemic

Published: Jun. 30, 2021 at 10:38 PM CDT
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LAREDO, Tex. (KGNS) - Texas students’ standardized test scores dropped dramatically during the pandemic, especially in math.

Parents now want to know why the numbers aren’t adding up.

The drop in scores was most significant in Texas districts that had most of their instruction taking place online, compared to districts with more in-person classes.

School officials tell us that was the case at the Laredo Independent School District.

“It was a challenge, we were blessed that our district provided one to one technology for our students,” said Jose Cerda. “Through our digital platform through our Google classroom, we were able to make connections.”

As LISD’s Jose Cerda, director of secondary education tells us, the COVID-19 pandemic appeared to undo years of improvement for Texas students’ meeting grade requirements in reading and math, with students who did most of their schooling remotely suffering significant declines compared to those who attended in person, according to standardized test results released Monday by the Texas Education Agency.

“Did we have a 100% of students engaged? That’s kind of difficult to say, but the challenge was there and again, keeping with the state trends, we were able to maintain, unfortunately, the same lowering of scores that took place across the state.”

Parents across the state are worried the emotional strain of the pandemic will have long term affects.

“It’s much harder on the kids for mental and behavioral health,” said Diana Pech, a worried parent. “I’ve seen my son, his anger and aggression has increased. Escalated in last few months. Keeps thinking he’s going back. He’s confused. Why can’t things go back to normal? I don’t know what to say to him.”

Like most school districts across the state, LISD did anticipate seeing a drop in scores due to the fact that online instruction can hamper an educator as they’re trying to reach out to their students.

The federal government has set aside $18 billion in relief funds for public schools in Texas, although its distribution was delayed for months.

Two months ago the state began distributing $11.2 billion of the funds.

“We’re taking advantage of all the funding that the state and government has provided all school districts. So we’re going to be using our extra funds to provide reading and math which are the two areas, you know, that we normally struggle with, but we’re going to show parents that, working together, teachers are going to show the professional, quality staff development as we head into the new school year.”

Sadly, Hispanic students in districts with over three-quarters of learning done remotely saw the largest drops compared to students in other demographic groups, with a 10% point decrease in the number of students meeting reading expectations and a 34% point decrease in those meeting math expectations.

Educators say parents can sign into TexasAssessment.gov to go over their children’s results and find out how to catch them up.

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