Early Fall Assessment Data Confirm COVID Learning Loss for Maryland Students

Early fall assessment data detail the “COVID gap” many of Maryland’s students are experiencing, especially in English Language Arts (ELA), Mathematics and Kindergarten Readiness.

On December 8, the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) published preliminary early fall assessment and kindergarten readiness assessment data for the 2021-22 school year.

Preliminary takeaways from the assessments:

  • 35% of students met or exceeded expectations in ELA, down from 43.7% in 2018-19;
  • 15% of students met or exceeded expectations in math, less than  half of the 2018-19 score of 33.0%;
  • 39% of students met or exceeded expectations in science; and
  • 40% of kindergarteners demonstrated readiness, down from 40% in 2018-19.

While this data is preliminary, it demonstrates what many local education agencies (LEAs) and leaders in education policy — the COVID-19 pandemic and hybrid/virtual have resulted in some students falling behind.

An MSDE press release describes how the State is planning to tackle the learning loss of the pandemic:

To address disrupted education and learning loss, MSDE is directing resources to local school systems as outlined in its American Rescue Plan Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ARP ESSER) plan, which provides an approximate $1.95 billion in emergency federal funds to meet the urgent needs of schools and students. The plan focuses on: accelerating student engagement, supporting mental and social-emotional health, and addressing disrupted education with evidence-based strategies such as tutoring and direct resources to students most impacted.

Additionally, several LEAs have already taken steps to address the issue, including increased tutoring time, expanded summer programming, and using data, like the fall assessment scores, to inform programming.

MSDE plans to publish the final results of the assessment data at the end of January 2022.

Read the full MSDE press release.

Previous Conduit Street reporting on COVID learning loss: