Education officials project drop in students' math, reading skills due to COVID-19 shutdown

Posted at 9:18 PM, Sep 23, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-23 23:50:49-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Tennessee education officials are predicting a big hit to student learning due to interruptions from the COVID-19 pandemic.

On Wednesday, the state Department of Education projected a 50% decrease in reading proficiency rates and a 65% drop in math among third graders.

“This data highlights the immense challenges that the COVID-19 pandemic has created for our students and educators,” said Gov. Lee in a press release. “The vast majority of students learn best in-person with their teacher, and we’ll continue to help provide a safe environment for Tennessee students to get their educational journeys back on track.”

At a news conference, Education Commissioner Penny Schwinn said it will take more than a school year to make up for the learning loss resulting from school closures, time off and virtual learning shifts.

"We know that increased time away from school has negative implications for students, which is compounded during extended building closures,” said Commissioner Schwinn. “The department is focused on ensuring we provide essential services and resources to mitigate learning loss and keep students on a path to success this new school year.”

Schwinn says the projections are based on a study done in June by her department and partnering organizations, district-level data and beginning-of-the-year assessment results from more than 30,000 students.

*The Associated Press attributed to this article.