National Report Reveals Mixed Results for K–12 Student Outcomes

National Report Reveals Mixed Results for K–12 Student Outcomes

How Kids Are Performing analysis shows lower student performance this school year compared to last year but there are encouraging signs that growth is improving 

Renaissance, a global leader in pre-K–12 education technology, today released the latest edition of How Kids Are Performing, a report detailing the academic impacts associated with COVID-19 school disruptions.

 The report compares performance and growth data for the first half of the 2021–2022 school year with data from the same period last year. This “snapshot” is a useful tool to document the extent to which the disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic continue to affect student achievement in grades K–12 in reading and 1–12 in math.

The new report’s findings confirm that the pandemic has had a profoundly disruptive effect on education that continues to be felt today. While student performance in the second year of the pandemic is lower than during the first year, there are encouraging signs in many grades that fall to winter student growth rates in 2021-2022 are stronger compared to the same period in 2020-2021.

Key findings include:

  • Performance: Overall, students are performing lower in 2021–2022 compared to 2020–2021, suggesting that the pandemic continues to have a compounding effect on student achievement. 
  • Growth: Fall-to-winter growth in 2021–2022 was stronger than growth during the same period last year, although it remains below typical growth in most grade levels.
  • Results by Group: Although performance and growth vary between student and school groups, most follow this same overall pattern of lower performance but stronger growth compared to the prior year.
  • Pre-readers: Concerning results were observed for pre-readers in grade 1 where school disruptions may have interrupted the development of foundational literacy skills.

“All signs suggest that this is going to be a multiyear recovery,” said Dr. Gene Kerns, vice president and chief academic officer at Renaissance. “We can reset instruction back to where it was pre-pandemic, but that isn’t going to instantly move students up to where they would have been had the pandemic not occurred. For example, if you worked out every day and then stopped for two years, you aren’t going to be in the same shape as before the break when you return to the gym. We know what to do—and educators are rising to meet this great challenge—but it’s going to take time.”

The Monroe County School District in Florida has consistently monitored student progress before and during the pandemic, and are encouraged by the data they see this school year. “For me, the growth score has the most meaning,” said Superintendent Theresa Axford. “What we are seeing is that our teachers are being effective and supporting the kids in the exact ways they need to be supported, and that is reflected in the student growth data.”

To ensure a fair comparison, the report restricts its analysis to schools using the same computer-adaptive Star Assessments for early literacy, reading, or math during both the 2020–2021 and 2021–2022 academic years. The analysis includes 4.4 million early literacy or reading assessments at 19,046 schools and 2.9 million math assessments at 12,754 schools. The sample covers K–12 students from schools from all 50 states plus the District of Columbia.

Renaissance is providing additional resources support educators, schools, and families this spring and summer:

  • Summer Learning Toolkit, which includes a variety of free resources: Student and Family Engagement Kits, summer funding information, and guidance on designing an effective summer learning program;
  • Focus Skills in English and Spanish, so educators can target the most important learning at each grade level;
  • Trip Steps for Reading, showing the most difficult reading skills for students to master across grades K–12 
  • Trip Steps for Mathematics, showing the most difficult math skills for students to master from pre-K through Algebra 1.

The full How Kid Are Performing report is available at ​​Renaissance.com/How-Kids-Are-Performing.