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June 13, 2022 2:28 pm
This week on Family Policy Matters, host Traci DeVette Griggs welcomes back Dr. Terry Stoops from the John Locke Foundation for Part 1 of a 2-part show. Dr. Stoops unpacks two recent reports from the NC Department of Public Instruction that evaluate K-12 student performance during the pandemic.
Family policy matters and engaging and informative weekly radio show and podcast produced by the North Carolina family policy Council hi this is John Ralston, presidency, family, and were grateful to have you with us for this week's program is our prayer that you will be informed, encouraged and inspired by what you hear on family policy matters and that you will fold better equipped to be a voice of persuasion, family values in your community, state and nation, and now here's our house to family policy matters.
Tracy Devitt Griggs thanks for joining us this week for family policy matters another school year, and a good time to analyze student performance from last year after much speculation about the possibility of student learning losses through the pandemic are finally starting to have hard data so we can analyze where North Carolina students stand academically in light of the dramatic school changes they experienced since the spring of 2020 will to talk with us about that today we are welcoming Dr. Terry stoops, director of the Center for effective education at the John Locke foundation here in North Carolina. He is also cofounder of Carolina charter Academy in Angier, North Carolina, and serves on the North Carolina charter school advisory board.
Dr. Terry stoops.
Welcome back to family policy matters.
Thank you so much for having me close.
So far, North Carolina's Department of Public instruction is released to reports that look at student learning and achievement through the pandemic.
So what exactly did they measure sure will start with the first report that took student test scores and compare them based on the growth that students were projected to have versus what they actually did have on state it's important to know that North Carolina uses growth as one of the measures of student performance about how we can determine students are behind by comparing where they should be based on their past performance on state tests and where they are and what we found was not surprising but still really really shocking and I'll talk about the first report. First, because this was a verbal report that look good. State why performance on state standardized test for me is mainly focused on the math, reading and science posts that were required by the federal government to administer each year, and this first study found that had fallen behind in every subject in every grade, with the exception of English to the high school English course and you might think what happened in English to the students are actually where they should be. Academically, researchers have no idea where we we might hear the office of learning recovery and acceleration. The main entity but conducting these studies, an explanation about why English two was Baird but we at this point have no idea why English to students are performing where they should be.
Despite the closure of school that really was the overriding factor of wife and are not performing where they should be is that when you close schools and you went to online learning that learning was not the quality that it needed to be in order to make sure that students were where they should be in their academic achievement is also worth noting that the first study found that, across every student subgroup. There were learning losses and this is important to note because there was an expectation among some people that are advanced students. The academically and intellectually gifted students were not going to have any learning laws before students that typically have a lot of support from home that have a lot of natural talent and many believe that because of that than they would be shielded from the learning loss that we encountered with all of these other students, but that wasn't the case. Even are gifted and talented students experience learning loss, albeit at rates that were lower than some other groups like are low income or special needs and our low performing students. Those groups struggled as we predicted, they would, but the students that were asked them academically and intellectually gifted struggled just as much as as the typical North Carolina student a few other takeaways that I think that are worth noting. The forces between male and female students. There was an expectation that male students were going to be hit harder that male students really needed that social interaction as all students do to be successful in class, but the test scores didn't bear that out. In fact, we found that female students had a greater amount of learning loss than male students did then and of course we are still trying to understand why that is but I think it's very concerning that female students who've traditionally outperformed male students now had fallen behind. At greater rates than their male counterparts during the pandemic. Now we may wonder just how big were these these learning losses.
The initial report. The first report that was published put it in effect sizes and that something that social scientists really like to do with use affects sizes because they allow us to use the same metric across different groups but the second report published by the Department of Public instruction in their office of learning recovery and acceleration is the real startling report because it translated these affects sizes into months of learning.
So now we actually know how many months of learning.
Students are behind in English and math and also the good news first is that in English.
There are some grades third grade 5th grade students where the learning loss only amounts to a couple months and I think the thinking is that we will be able to catch up those few months of learning loss throughout the subsequent school years without having to provide any additional or special services to students in other grades, in English language arts such as fourth grade and seventh grade. It's closer to seven months learning so this is really where we start to see some serious learning losses when students are seven months behind in a 10 month of school year. That is almost 3/4 of the school year so we we have to really keep our eye on our English language arts instruction, especially in elementary and middle school. But math is devastating. When you look at how many months behind. Students are in fifth grade 7 months in six grade 10 month in seventh grade 11 1/2 months in eighth grade almost 15 months, and math one, which is usually ninth grade students. It's 15 1/4 months behind in learning now here's what's really scary about that math one figure is that math one forms the basis for all high school math that a student will have to take in later years, meaning that those high school teachers will have to go back and read teach a lot of the things students should have learned in math one.
The other problem is that when were talking about high school math. This is the math that students need to really master for them to be successful in math and the sciences and in business and all all of those math intensive subjects in college, so I think that in a few years were going to have a brand-new crisis. We know that learning loss occurred. Great extent in grades K-12. But we are going to have students entering our colleges and universities that are way far behind in math and perhaps less so in English that will require remedial work to the extent that we've never had to provide students remedial work in our community colleges in our universities and this is going to be something that I don't think of the state. We really thought much about because right now most of our focuses on dealing with learning loss are on the K-12 education system, and rightfully so, but we're going have to think seriously about what we do about students being grossly underprepared for college level instruction in English and in math. So he jumped right to the colleges are going to have to provide remedial, has there been any discussion about where you extend the number of years that students are in high school or anything like that. That is really the question we need to be asking. We need to be thinking about creative approaches to dealing with the learning loss. There is a great deal of empirical research that tells us the one thing the one tried and tested way to address learning loss is something called high dosage or intensive tutoring is a very simple concept.
Small groups of students receiving tutoring services in small groups from a very experienced very capable teacher either. After class or after school or during the summer.
It has to be intensive and sustained and it has to be delivered by high quality instructor. We know that this is the way to address learning loss, but unfortunately we are not single whole lot of movement in the public education system to implementing this high dosage or intensive tutoring, despite the fact that our public schools are sitting on billions with the be in federal coronavirus relief funding that they could use to contract with retired teachers, the nonprofit or private sector or perhaps teachers that would be willing to take on additional duties to be able to provide the intensive tutoring, especially in math, that our students are going to need in order to be successful after they graduate. Instead a lot of the federal money has been used for teacher bonuses and teacher raises. For those that are already in the classroom. These are usually across-the-board raises an across-the-board bonuses rather than the kind of targeted interventions that are required to make sure students are caught up. Okay so this billions of dollars in federal because it's funding you said we are sitting on it who we who sitting on it. The school boards and the general assembly, but mostly it's the school boards because one of the philosophies and this actually wasn't an objectionable philosophy from the barn administration is that school districts understand best how the money should be spent and so school boards have a tremendous amount of money at their disposal. Some larger school boards like wake County had hundreds of millions of dollars and some smaller districts, mostly in rural communities is closer in the it's in the $10 million or $20 million range that is unspent and they don't have to spend the money immediately. They can spend the money anytime between now and 2024 and perhaps even further out if that money is unspent by the deadline that's been set by the federal government, and there's almost no restrictions on how school boards can use the money. So if they found that they needed to replace a ventilation system they can use the money for that. There's almost no restriction.
Now I'm all for local control. I believe that the closer you get to the child, the better able you. You are to make decisions on what that child needs, but a school district understands that or should understand that we are not going to get learning loss addressed in any other way than their ability to use the money that they have right now to address student learning loss through intensive or high dosage tutoring and the science on this is settled. I think that it's an approach that any school board that is thinking seriously about learning loss of the problem should be considering and yet I find startlingly few districts, even talking about learning loss, let alone starting to implement tutoring programs with rest matters is a two-part show with Dr. Terry stoops, director of the Center for effective education at the John Locke foundation.
We hope you enjoy this program and plan to do it again next week for part two.
To listen to the show online, and for more information about into family visit our firstname.lastname@example.org MC family.org. Thanks so much for listening and may God bless you and your family