By Patrick Wall at Chalkbeat Newark

When Newark students took a series of diagnostic tests last fall, some seven months into the pandemic, the results were alarming:

Nearly 80% of third graders and almost 90% of fourth graders would “not meet the passing score” on the state math exams, according to a district analysis that was not made public. The projections suggested that far fewer students were on track to master grade-level math than in previous years.


An independent analysis of test scores from 15 New Jersey districts and charter schools also found evidence of pandemic learning loss. During the first half of last school year, students in grades 3-8 made about 30% less progress in English and 36% less progress in math than they would be expected to make during that period in a typical year, according to the analysis, which was commissioned by the advocacy group JerseyCAN.

Patricia Morgan, the group’s executive director, said officials from the state down to individual districts must be forthright about learning loss before they can properly address it: “We need to know where our students are to get them the resources they need.”

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