Study shows pandemic put students behind almost 5 years

Aug 4, 2022, 9:00 AM
Doing school online during the pandemic has put student behind academically....
Online school through the pandemic has proven to put students further behind than originally thought, study shows. (CNN)

SALT LAKE CITY — A July study from a student assessment organization showed that while there are signs students are starting to rebound from pandemic-affected learning, there has still been a decline in achievement. 

The Northwest Evaluation Association study showed declines of 5 to 10 percentile points in math and 2 to 4 points in reading when comparing data from the 2021-2022 school year to pre-pandemic years.

Researchers used data taken from the math and reading assessments of 8.3 million students from third to eighth grade for the study.

The study indicated it could take up to five years for children to catch up.

NWEA advised that there is “a long road to recovery still ahead” for students.

How to help your child if they’re struggling

Andrea Kaplan, owner and director of Mathnasium, a learning center in Sugar House, spoke to KSL NewsRadio’s Dave and Dujanovic about how to help your child if they are struggling with math.


“For our kids, something that I like to let them know when they’re feeling embarrassed is that math is really like anything else like sports, or music, and it takes practice to get better,” Kaplan said.

Kaplan said children have been in a situation out of their control for the past two years, and its likely they have classmates dealing with the same struggles.

Kaplan encouraged parents to help their children learn a little bit at a time. She emphasized that its difficult for children to do math if they don’t have the building blocks they need to understand the math they’re currently assigned.

“You can’t take three years of math and you know, accomplish and learn it all in three weeks, it takes time for your brain to process and learn and to build those concepts and understand how different types of mathematical foundations might interact together,” Kaplan said. 

Kaplan recommended that parents stay calm, make a plan and make a commitment to helping their child catch up.

Dave and Dujanovic spoke to Rep. Susan Pulsipher about whether closing schools during the pandemic was a good idea, and what schools can do in the future.

Pulsipher pointed out that online learning can be a great tactic, but only for a short period of time. Also, that circumstances will come up and there is no other option but online learning. With that in mind, she says we should focus on getting better at online learning. 

Pulsipher said that like fire drills, we have to practice how to execute online learning, just in case. 


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Study shows pandemic put students behind almost 5 years