(The Center Square) — Amid continued calls for more money for public education, including the governor’s unofficial state of emergency for public schools this year, new data is emerging on improving performance of North Carolina students in kindergarten through 12th grade.
Superintendent Catherine Truitt presented standardized test results and other data to the state Board of Education on Wednesday. Students in most grades and subjects continue to recover from significant learning loss during the pandemic, a loss that many have acknowledged is attributed to government-enforced closures and remote learning plans that have created disadvantages based on high-speed Internet access.
“We have now seen two consecutive years of gains greater than any year before the pandemic-related losses, when year-over-year changes in average scores were generally flat, or in some cases, declining” , Truitt said. a Republican for his first term. “Students and schools still have some way to go to catch up, but we have good reason to believe that progress will continue.
“As more early-school teachers adopt literacy instruction grounded in the science of reading, students will become better readers as they progress through primary and secondary school. college. We will see continued improvement in these test scores and others.
Pandemic school closures implemented by Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper and former health secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen kept students from attending in-person classes for months. Studies show that some students was over a year late in certain grades and subjects, in particular in primary and secondary mathematics.
Cohen is now director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Government spending per student has increased by an average of 3% over the past decade, rising from $5,361 in 2011-2012 to $7,426 in 2021-2022. Average daily enrollment in public schools across the state grew at an average rate of 0.37% between 2012 and 2022, according to the Tax Research Division.
The General Assembly has allocated a net amount of $11.28 billion to public schools in the state for 2022-2023. North Carolina schools also received $5.8 billion in federal COVID-19 funds to help resume learning through September 2024.
Despite significant investments, the Democratic governor declared an unofficial state of emergency in May, saying “the Republican legislature aims to stifle public education.”
The unprecedented drop in student test scores for the 2020-21 school year was followed by significant gains in the 2021-22 school year, and that trend is continuing, Truitt said.
End-of-year and end-of-course test results for 2022-23 showed significant improvements, particularly in math, with pandemic-related losses in some years reduced by more than two-thirds. Reading has also improved in all years, with losses halving in some years.
Metrics measuring grade-level reading skills for elementary and middle school students rose slightly to 50.2%, from 48.4% in 2020-21, while grade-level math skills rose from 49 .8% in 2021-2022 to 53% last year.
For high school students, Mathematics 3 exam results surpassed pre-pandemic performance, while grade level fluency for English II scores increased slightly.
The test results mean the number of low-performing schools fell from 864 to 804 for 2022-23, although this figure remains well above the 488 low-performing schools identified in 2018-19 – the last full year before COVID-19. 19. Low-performing districts, meanwhile, fell from 29 to 25 last year; the state has 115 in total.
“We continue to experience some of the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Tammy Howard, who leads the state’s public school accountability efforts. “As we review the data, academic performance scores and other information from the 2022-23 school year, it is very important to note that while informative, it is limited and comparisons are discouraged. with 2018-19, which predates the pandemic.