The most recent NAEP Report for reading and math scores, otherwise known as “the Nation’s Report Card,” has been making headlines lately. It seems that everywhere we look, there is another article about the dismal state of education in the United States and the negative impacts from the disruptions experienced over the last three years. While the data is certainly concerning, we would like to use this as an opportunity to reflect on where we have come from and brainstorm solutions that support and empower our nation’s educators and students, rather than discourage them.
First of all, most of our teachers already knew where their students were academically, long before the latest data made headlines. After all, teachers have been the ones working with these students over the past three years and witnessing firsthand how they have struggled with the dramatic changes to their learning environments and routines. They have already been working tirelessly to address the needs of their students and support them through these big changes. They don’t need to be told that students have fallen behind because they already know.
While this data can be disheartening, let’s take a look at some of the positives that have come out of this experience and discuss how we can do better moving forward.
Not a New Issue
We know that test scores were not ideal before the pandemic, and the issues we are seeing were only exacerbated by the pandemic. As U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona said in a briefing with reporters on the NAEP results, “Let’s be very clear here: The data prior to the pandemic did not reflect an education system that was on the right track. The pandemic simply made it worse. It took poor performance and dropped it down even further.”
The fact is that we now have more students who are struggling in core subjects and we have the data to show us where improvements need to be made.
Data Is Powerful
One thing that we can take away from this is that we have hard data that shows where our students stand. We know their struggles, and we understand more about what they are struggling with than ever before. Another important piece of information that we have is the feedback from students, parents, families, and teachers about what is and isn’t working.
One school district in particular has chosen to see this as “a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity” to survey their patrons and focus on ways in which they can use this data to make positive and lasting changes for their communities. Some of the key areas across the board are: support with social and emotional learning; flexibility for teachers, families, and students; the need for improvements to technology and digital resources; and the relationship between the classroom and the home environment for students.
The combination of the pandemic, recent test scores, and testimonies of teachers, students, and families have provided us, as a nation, with real data that we can use to take the necessary steps toward making real change.
What Is Needed
Equipped with this information, we can make informed decisions about the future of our education system and where to direct our efforts.
The obvious response to the reading and math scores is that students need targeted intervention and remediation to support them in reaching their academic goals and achieving grade level mastery. Teachers require supportive tools that clearly outline the needs of individual students, provide them with quality data, and supplement their instruction with personalized practice for students in their unique areas of need.
Flexibility for teachers, students, and families is of utmost importance. Making learning accessible for everyone, from anywhere, is a concept that we have become very familiar with over the course of the pandemic. This has fueled a whole new level of innovation from edtech companies seeking to provide teachers and students with the resources and tools they need to make flexible learning a reality.
The connection between the classroom and home environment is a big piece of the puzzle as well. Parents and families should have a clear understanding of how their students are doing and feel empowered to support them in their learning journey.
Progress Learning Supports Teaching and Learning
Given these results, we feel it is our responsibility to support teaching and learning and ensure that we are at the forefront of making improvements that will empower students to progress forward academically.
It is important to us that we provide a quality solution for teachers that makes their jobs easier. We do this by giving them detailed data and reporting, customizable assessments and assignments with standards-aligned content, and targeted intervention and remediation tools that allow them to personalize instruction for their students and focus on their individual needs. Our platform also allows students to work on their own individual study plans and monitor their own progress from anywhere, enabling parents and families to gain powerful insight into their child’s progress as well.
We want to use this opportunity to improve the experiences of our students and teachers, helping them to find inspiration and connect to their love of learning again after these difficult times.
Request a Demo with us to learn more about how we can start supporting you today.