Trends in children’s academic skills at school entry: 2010 – 2017
Students’ level of academic skills at school entry are a strong predictor of later academic success, and focusing on improving these skills during the preschool years has been a priority during the past ten years. Evidence from two prior nationally representative studies indicated that incoming kindergarteners’ math and literacy skills were higher in 2010 than 1998, but no national studies have examined trends since 2010. This study examines academic skills at kindergarten entry from 2010 and 2017 using data from over 2 million kindergarten students. Results indicated kindergarteners in 2017 have slightly lower math and reading skills than in 2010, but that inequalities at school entry by race/ethnicity and school poverty level have decreased during this period.See More
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Learning during COVID-19: An update on student achievement and growth at the start of the 2021-22 school year
To what extent has the COVID-19 pandemic affected student achievement and growth in reading and math, and which students have been most affected? Using data from 6 million students in grades 3-8 who took MAP Growth assessments in reading and math, this brief examines how gains across the pandemic (fall 2019 to fall 2021) and student achievement in fall 2021 compare to pre-pandemic trends. This research provides insight to leaders working to support recovery.
Technical appendix for: Learning during COVID-19: An update on student achievement and growth at the start of the 2021-22 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: An update on student achievement and growth at the start of the 2021-22 school year. We investigated two research questions:
- How does student achievement in fall 2021 compare to pre-pandemic levels (namely fall 2019)?
- How did academic gains between fall 2019 and fall 2021 compare to normative growth expectations?
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, Douglas Downery, Megan Kuhfeld
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.