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Ind. standardized test results show students struggled during COVID-19 pandemic

Published: Jul. 14, 2021 at 7:49 PM CDT
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EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WFIE) - The Indiana Department of Education released the results of standardized tests Wednesday, along with the early results of a study to see how COVID-19 affected education.

Education officials now have a slightly better idea of how students in Indiana fared over the past school year, when people worried that performance might decline while students were away from in-person learning.

The state has only given the ISTEP+ exam for high school juniors and the ILEARN exam for third through eighth graders twice now. So even though there are not many other years to compare, the results unveiled Wednesday show some students struggled more than others during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The results illustrated that out of the high school juniors, who were separated by the English-Language Arts and Mathematics sections, a little more than one-third of students passed math. But for third through eighth graders, less than half passed either portion.

Click here to read a more detailed breakdown of the test results.

Even when students were having in-person classes, COVID-19 kept things from getting back to normal.

“Even though last year we were in session the whole year, we had a lot of kids coming and going,” Michael Galvin, the superintendent at the Metropolitan School District of North Posey County said. “You know, even from my own family, my son missed probably over 28 days because of close contact tracing.”

The state says the academic impact for most students is “significant,” meaning it will take more than a year to make up for it.

Similar to how a building needs a strong foundation in order to support anything above it, all academics build on one another. So for students who don’t understand one concept, it’s just going to get harder when they are introduced to something new.

Administrators are working to make sure that students find more success in the future.

“We really care about our kids, and we’re going to make sure that we bring them through this situation and that they’re prepared for those 21st century jobs that are out there,” Galvin said. “And so over this coming year, as I know all my colleagues are, we’re going to be working hard to make sure that we’re continuing to provide the best education possible for your kids.”

The Evansville Vanderburgh School Corporation provided the following statement in response to the results:

Predictions from state education officials for Indiana students in ILEARN performance were verified with the release of the spring 2021 assessment results. In spite of this, we are pleased to see that our school corporation showed stronger performance in many areas of English-Language Arts and Mathematics compared to those throughout the state of Indiana. We attribute this to our dedicated staff providing uninterrupted in-person instruction to EVSC students last year during the pandemic. We are optimistic that future student performance results will increase as we return to what will hopefully be a more normal school learning environment.

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