SC education leaders study student achievement during COVID-19 pandemic

State News

COLUMBIA, SC (WSPA) — The South Carolina Education Oversight Committee says reading and math scores have gone down during the pandemic.

The data comes from Fall and Winter formative assessments given to more than 200,000 students ranging from 3rd to 8th grade.

According to the new report shared Monday afternoon during a committee meeting, about 30% of students in South Carolina are expected to be at grade level in Math and Reading by the end of the school year.

The rest, 7 out of 10 students, are expected to be below grade level.

The committee recommends more ELA and math instruction in a day for those students who are most at risk of falling further behind, students in the lowest percentile. Executive Director Matthew Ferguson said, “We just can’t keep what we’ve been doing – maybe saying it a little bit louder and hope for better results. They need more time, every day for two or three years to make up that gap.”

The committee recommended targeted interventions for students.

The state Department of Education said they have already been working with school districts on summer learning and academic recovery camps to help vulnerable students. State Superintendent Molly Spearman said, “I clearly believe that our teachers, many of them, do not have the tools in their pockets to meet those struggling students.” She added they are getting new resources and curriculum to help.

During Monday’s meeting, Spearman mentioned during a regular year 4 or 5 out of 10 students are considered to be at grade level during a ‘normal’ year. She said many of the problems they’re facing now were around before the pandemic.

She said South Carolina is receiving a boost from federal COVID-19 relief funds its receiving for education.

Spearman said, “With our federal funding we have been able to purchase some of the things we have asked over the years for and have not found funding for like our new learning management system.”

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