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One of the largest school district in the country reports below grade level student test scores. This may serve as a data analysis warning for testing professionals nationwide. See key research findings below:

  • Recent data suggests that pandemic schooling is taking a toll.
  • Miami-Dade County Public Schools reported that 43% of pre-K-3 tested students scored below grade level in reading and 54% tested below grade level in math.
  • Students in both at-home and in-person settings took the online tests.
  • The district educates some 334,000 students, more than nearly every district in the U.S., with the exception of New York City, Los Angeles, and Chicago.
  • Miami-Dade findings are predicted to be repeated nationwide.
  • Los Angeles also reported “an unprecedented educational crisis.”
  • Fairfax County, Virginia’s largest school district, similarly reported an increase in course failures.

What’s Next

  • Miami-Dade students are already receiving more help.
  • They’re also planning to scale up an intensive reading and math summer school programs with plans to use federal COVID relief funds to get students tutors and other kinds of extra help.
  • Parents are taking steps to fight social isolation.
  • Black parents said the pandemic has been doubly hard for poor students, as well as students of color.
  • One of Miami-Dade’s biggest concerns is the students who never showed up for school — as well as online-only students identified as at risk of failing.
    • Many missing students are English-language learners whose parents moved and whose phones were disconnected.
    • Community center and neighborhood afterschool programs are helping the district find students who couldn’t otherwise be located.

What About the Data

  • Some district staff do not have full confidence in the data due to at home testing.
  • Testing experts do not suspect “widespread cheating” from students testing at home.
  • Term “unfinished learning” is preferred over “COVID learning loss”.

“Students have not had the opportunity to learn. They didn’t have learning to lose. They were just not finished doing the learning that we would expect, given the circumstances of the past year.”

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