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As schools prepare to return to another school year, many are wondering where our student achievement stands. Repeated resurgences of the COVID-19 virus thwarted hopes of a strong comeback. Schools continued to face a myriad of challenges including severe staff shortages, high rates of absenteeism and sickness, and rolling school closures forced by the pandemic’s fallout.

NATP partner NWEA has conducted ongoing research examining how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected student achievement in reading and math. Here’s what we can learn from their research:

Key findings

  • Initial signs of academic rebounding were evident in 2021–22.
    • reading and math achievement gains paralleling pre-pandemic trends in many grades
    • rebounding appeared stronger in math and among younger students
  • Signs of rebounding across all school poverty levels.
  • Despite some signs of rebounding, student achievement at the end of the 2021–22 school year remains lower than in a typical year.
  • Modest improvements are evident among elementary students.
  • Middle school achievement declines appear to be mostly unchanged.
  • Black, Hispanic, and American Indian/Alaska Native (AIAN) students remain disproportionately impacted.


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