U.S. children confront severe learning losses over COVID-19: WSJ

(Xinhua) 09:08, September 07, 2022

NEW YORK, Sept. 6 (Xinhua) -- For two years, American schools and researchers have wrestled with pandemic-era learning setbacks, resulting mostly from a lack of in-person classes, reported The Wall Street Journal on Tuesday.

National data show those children who were learning to read earlier in the pandemic have the lowest reading proficiency rates in about 20 years.

According to the U.S. Department of Education, from 2020 to 2022, average reading scores for 9-year-olds slid 5 points, to 215 out of a possible 500, in the sharpest decline since 1990.

Average math scores fell 7 points to 234, the first statistically significant decline in math scores since the long-term trend assessments began in the 1970s.

Learning loss generally is worse in districts that kept classes remote longer, with the effects most pronounced in high-poverty districts, said the report.

The possible reasons are that some students stayed remote after in-person classes resumed, COVID-19 outbreaks led to additional quarantine, and class routines were disturbed by social distancing.

While some students have begun to make up ground, it could take five years or more on average for today's fourth-graders to read proficiently unless the pace accelerates. By then, billions of dollars in federal pandemic-related aid for education will have run out, the report cited researchers. 

(Web editor: Peng Yukai, Liang Jun)


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