Data Shows a Majority of Students One to Three Grade Levels Behind

NEW JERSEY – JerseyCAN, a nonprofit focused on advocating for high quality schools for all New Jersey students, released today Winter 2021-22 i-Ready data, which highlights academic performance for students in grades Kindergarten through Eighth Grade, in New Jersey schools that administer i-Ready (see attached).  The i-Ready Assessment, created by Curriculum Associates, is a test procured and used by approximately 214 local New Jersey school districts throughout the school year to gauge student academic progress.  Curriculum Associates has shared the results with JerseyCAN as it is committed to providing educators and schools with data to help inform and drive student learning.

“These results reconfirm that our State and our schools must be committed to and investing in high-quality programs for the long-term and tracking progress towards our students’ academic success,” said Patricia Morgan, Executive Director of JerseyCAN.  “It is critical to have a coordinated effort at the State level not only to support schools in using their federal stimulus dollars effectively, but also to help them quickly problem-solve challenges.  For example, we know schools want to offer more high-quality, high-dosage tutoring to students, but are having significant difficulty finding enough teachers and support staff to provide these proven interventions.”

The data reveals that since the COVID-19 pandemic, more students have fallen one, two, and three years behind in reading and math.  As a result, only 42% of students are nearly or on grade level in reading and only 32% of students are nearly or on grade level in math.  This means that 58% of tested students were one to three years behind in reading and 68% of students are one to three years behind in math.  These new data points on New Jersey students come on the heels of the release of national data and a Rutgers study, which both highlight the impact that long-term closures and virtual learning had on student achievement.

The i-Ready Assessment was administered to approximately 170,000 in New Jersey in grades Kindergarten through Eighth.  However, to support a longitudinal examination of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the samples highlighted today include students who are currently enrolled in schools that had at least two years of i-Ready Diagnostic usage prior to the 2020-21 school year.

Since the start of the pandemic, JerseyCAN has advocated for the adoption of evidence-based policy solutions to address our students’ significant learning loss.  Proposed solutions include:

    • the creation and adoption of a statewide education recovery plan and entity focused on helping schools use their fiscal resources to drive academic improvements;
    • the creation of a state-level matching program to incentivize the adoption of high-quality, high-dosage tutoring programs at the local level; and
    • adopting policy recommendations, like expanding reciprocity and increased certification flexibility,  to enable more individuals access to becoming educators.

“We have a collective moral imperative to plan and act on our children’s educational recovery immediately.  Additional lost learning time or further academic losses could mean future lost earnings and missed employment opportunities for our children,” emphasized Morgan.  “We need to ensure that we have a plan and the tools in place to put all of our students on a path to achieving their full potential.”

About JerseyCAN:  The New Jersey Campaign for Achievement Now (“JerseyCAN”) is an education research and advocacy organization that brings together education leaders from across the state and arms them with top-notch education research and policy analysis to enact smart education policy.  We believe every New Jersey child should have access to a great school, because great schools change everything.


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