New Data from Illuminate Education Indicate Substantial Math and Modest Reading Learning Losses due to COVID-19

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Math losses in grades 5 through 8 approximated to be between three to four months

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“The data show that we’ve reached a critical point. If we don’t place greater emphasis on remedying losses now, achievement gaps are likely to widen later,” said Dr. John Bielinski, Sr. Dir. of Research & Development at Illuminate Education.

A brief released today by Illuminate Education reveals substantial math losses in grades 5-8 and modest reading losses across grades K-8 as a result of COVID-19 disruptions.

“The data show that we’ve reached a critical point. If we don’t place greater emphasis on remedying losses now, achievement gaps are likely to widen later,” said Dr. John Bielinski, Sr. Dir. of Research & Development at Illuminate Education. “Through regular screening, support, and practice, we can work to ensure students aren’t left behind.”

Earlier this year, Illuminate Education researchers reported projected learning loss due to disruptions in instruction from the pandemic. The new brief uses data from a national sample of students who completed FastBridge’s aReading and aMath assessments in fall 2020 and compared those results to a calculated baseline, which was established by analyzing more than one million previous fall screening administrations dating back to fall 2016. By comparing the data sets, researchers were able to quantify actual fall learning loss Important highlights include:

  • The disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic have resulted in measurable learning loss. Researchers saw modest reading losses across grades K-8, modest math losses in early elementary grades, and substantial math losses in grades 5-8.
  • Math achievement losses are substantial in grades 5 through 8. In grades 5 through 8 losses ranged from about three to four months. On average, students would have to grow at nearly twice the annual rate for three to four months to make up for these losses.
  • Early reading loss is of great concern. First grade is the transition where most students begin to read connected text, making it critical that these skills be shored up quickly.

Download the brief here to view findings and recommendations for achieving catch-up growth: New Findings from Fall Screening: Data on COVID Learning Loss and Updated Recommendations for Instruction

Illuminate Education will continue to research and share findings on this topic. To learn more about Illuminate Education, visit https://www.illuminateed.com/.

About Illuminate Education
Illuminate Education equips educators to take a data-driven approach to serving the whole child. Our solution combines comprehensive assessment, MTSS management and collaboration, and real-time dashboard tools, and puts them in the hands of educators. As a result, educators can monitor learning and growth, identify academic and social-emotional behavioral needs, and align targeted supports in order to accelerate learning for each student.

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