Mind the kinder-gap: New data on children’s math and reading skills as they enter kindergarten
Phi Delta Kappan 102 (2)
By: Christine Pitts, Megan Kuhfeld
Data on children’s academic preparation at kindergarten entry tell a story of both declining achievement and shrinking gaps.
This article was published outside of NWEA. The full text can be found at the link above.
Using achievement data from fall and spring of grades K-8 for 840,000 students in 8,800 public schools, this study provides novel evidence on how achievement and growth differ between rural and nonrural schools. Rural students start kindergarten slightly ahead of nonrural students but fall behind by middle school. The divergence is driven by larger summer losses for rural students. In both rural and nonrural schools, Black–White achievement gaps widen during the school year.
Researchers interviewed parents whose children participated in a three-week structured kindergarten transition program designed to promote parental involvement in school, reduce students’ chronic absenteeism, and increase children’s readiness for kindergarten. Interviewees expressed that participating in the program yielded benefits for themselves and their children, and proposed various ways that adjusting the program could better meet the needs of all stakeholders. Parent suggestions were synthesized into multiple implications for practice and substantiated by current relevant literature.
By: Christopher Merideth, Beth Cavanaugh, Sue Romas, Nicole Ralston, Eva Arias, Beth Tarasawa, Jacqueline Waggoner
Schools as refractors: Change in variance in children’s cognitive skills change while in school versus out
How does schooling affect inequality in students’ academic skills? This study uses seasonal comparisons to examine the possibilities that schooling exacerbates, reduces, or reproduces overall skill inequality in math, reading, language use, and science with recent national data on US public school students spanning numerous grade levels from the NWEA MAP Growth assessment. Results suggest that schooling has a compensatory effect on inequality in reading, language, and science skills but not math skills. Theoretical implications of findings are discussed.
By: Dennis Condron, Megan Kuhfeld, Douglas Downery
Black and poor students are suspended from U.S. schools at higher rates than White and nonpoor students. While the existence of these disparities has been clear, the causes have not. By comparing the punishments given to Black and White (or poor and nonpoor) students who fight one another, the study addresses a challenge that has kept prior studies from identifying discrimination in student discipline. It finds that Black and poor students are punished more harshly than the students with whom they fight.
By: Nathan Barrett, Andrew McEachin, Jonathan Mills, Jon Valant
To what extent did COVID-19 disruptions affect student achievement in 2020-2021, and which students have been most affected? New NWEA research aims to provide insight to inform leaders working to support recovery: using data from 5.5 million students in grades 3-8 who took MAP Growth assessments in reading and math, this brief examines how gains across the 2020-21 school year and student achievement in spring 2021 compare to pre-pandemic trends.
Technical appendix for: Learning during COVID-19: Reading and math achievement in the 2020-2021 school year
The purpose of this technical appendix is to share more detailed results and to describe more fully the sample and methods used in the research included in the brief, Learning during COVID-19: Reading and math achievement in the 2020-21 school year.
Two research questions were investigated in this brief:
1. How do gains across the 2020-21 school year compare to pre-pandemic trends?
2. How does student achievement in spring of 2021 compare to pre-pandemic levels?
This study investigated test-taking engagement on a large-scale state summative assessment. Overall, results of this study indicate that disengagement has a material impact on individual state summative test scores, though its impact on score aggregations may be relatively minor.