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New York state English Language Arts and math test results show effects of pandemic

NY state ELA and math test results show effects of pandemic
NY state ELA and math test results show effects of pandemic 02:29

NEW YORK -- Test results are in for the 2022 New York state grades 3-8 English Language Arts (ELA) and math exams.

This marks the first time in two years the majority of enrolled students took the tests due to the pandemic.

In 2020, there was no exam, and in 2021, only 21% of students took the New York state ELA and math exams since it was optional and given in-person only.

Because of this lack of data for those years, the Department of Education is comparing 2022 results with pre-pandemic 2019.

For math, grades 3-8 all saw a decrease. The percent proficient went down 7.6%.

For ELA, grades 3-5 saw a decline, but 6-8 had an increase. The DOE says this implies the students in grades 1-3 who were still learning to read during the pandemic struggled more.

They say these results are similar to the effect remote learning seems to have had nationally.

"She was in 3rd grade and in 2nd grade in the pandemic, so it was a little hard. Not the reading, but definitely the math," parent Linette Cabral said.

Cabral says when in-person learning picked back up, her 4th grader was behind in math, though she's improving now.

"It's really good at school. I'm trying my best at math," 4th grader Mila said.

"That's how you can see how, the difference that a teacher makes while they're in class," Cabral said.

The executive director of Advocates for Children of New York released the following statement:

"The test results released today drive home the need for a fundamental overhaul of the City's approach to literacy instruction, as well as the urgency of providing extra support to students whose education was disrupted by the pandemic at an especially critical moment: the years when they were still learning how to read. While the overall ELA proficiency rate ticked upward, relative to 2019, the percentage of third graders scoring proficient fell by four percentage points and the rate for fourth graders fell by six percentage points. These students would have been in first and second grades in March 2020—grades when children are mastering the relationships between sounds and letters and building the foundational literacy skills that will shape their future academic trajectory.

"We're encouraged that this Administration is planning to tackle the issue of literacy instruction, despite the many implementation challenges ahead. Shifting what happens in thousands of classrooms on a day-to-day basis is no small task, and the devil is truly in the details. It will be critical to evaluate and learn from the pilot programs launching this year, with an eye towards scaling success, setting the stage for long-term sustainability, and ensuring support reaches the students with the greatest needs. And as the City develops specialized programs for students with dyslexia and works to improve core instruction in the early elementary grades, it cannot leave behind the thousands of older students—with and without disabilities—who have not yet built a strong foundation in the building blocks of reading."

Wednesday morning, schools chancellor David Banks wouldn't comment specifically on the results until they were made public Wednesday afternoon, but he had this to say about standardized testing: "Test scores are important, but they're not everything."

He was speaking at a Queens high school about Student Pathways, programs where students can learn about different careers, get paid internships and learn digital and financial literacy.

"I would dare tell you, the return on investment is not the scores they got on standardized exams. It's about their readiness to take their rightful place in the 21st century economy," Banks said.

The first deputy chancellor says the exam test results are complicated by the pandemic and also "reflect opportunity gaps and outcomes in particular for Black and Hispanic students as well as students with disabilities and English-language learners that are unacceptable."

The chancellor says they're thinking outside the box for ways to transform education, prevent kids from being bored and create other opportunities with more programs to come.

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