While students have made some learning gains in reading and math since the beginning of COVID, average math gains were lower on average in fall 2020 than prior years–meaning more students are falling behind relative to their prior standing and raising concerns about COVID learning loss, according to new research from NWEA, a nonprofit assessment provider.
Average scores for math were between 5 and 10 percentile points lower for students this year as compared to same-grade students last year.
The research, Learning During COVID-19: Initial Findings on Students’ Reading and Math Achievement and Growth, is a follow-up to NWEA’s April 2020 analysis predicting concerning learning loss as a result of the pandemic.
This new research analyzed data from more than 4 million U.S. students in grades 3-8 who took MAP Growth assessments in fall 2020 to determine how students performed this fall relative to a typical school year. It also analyzed how much students have grown academically since schools physically closed in March 2020 and how fall 2020 test scores compared to the projections made by NWEA in April 2020.