Missouri K-12 test scores drop statewide amid coronavirus

Published: Sep. 14, 2021 at 8:12 PM CDT
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COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — Missouri’s K-12 students did worse in all subject and grade-level statewide tests during the coronavirus pandemic, data released Tuesday show.

Roughly 45% of public school students scored at least proficiently at English in the 2020-2021 school year, according to results provided by the Elementary and Secondary Education Department. That’s down from the closer to 49% of students who tested that well in the 2019 school year.

Students did worse in math and science, with scores for math dropping from around 42% in 2019 to 35% of students performing at grade level last year. In science, test scores dropped from 42% proficient to 37% proficient.

The state education department won’t release district- and school-level data until later this year.

School administrators asked for understanding in light of the slew of challenges teachers and students faced during the COVID-19 pandemic, including stress and long absences because of illnesses or quarantining.

“Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, most aspects of last school year were not typical,” Missouri Commissioner of Education Margie Vandeven said in a statement. “I urge stakeholders to use these data to learn from this experience and inform how to deploy resources to best support students, educators, and schools.”

Missouri School Boards’ Association Executive Director Melissa Randol in a statement said teachers and students “did a fantastic job under the circumstances during this pandemic.”

“We can’t lose sight of that,” she said.

A little more than half of students who were tested last year were learning in person, according to data from the education department. Another 10% learned exclusively online, while 31% were taught via a mix of both ways.

About 80% of students had internet access.

Analysis by the education department found that students scored higher when they learned in school. Students who learned online scored better when they had access to internet and a device.

State education officials already decided that test results for last year won’t be used against schools for accountability purposes because of the unusual circumstances of the pandemic.

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