Research finds Utah test scores still recovering, but faring better than other states

Jun 20, 2023, 12:05 PM | Updated: Sep 11, 2023, 11:26 am

Rose springs elementary students walk to a bus, utah test scores are still recovering...

Students walk to their buses after school at Rose Springs Elementary in Erda, Tooele County, on Thursday, Nov. 5, 2020. (Steve Griffin/Deseret News)

(Steve Griffin/Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — Years after the pandemic stopped the world in its tracks, Utah students are still playing catch-up. Research from the Kem C. Garnder Policy Institute found that test scores aren’t back to pre-pandemic levels yet, but Utah is still faring better than other states.

A Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute publication showed that while scores in Utah are still lower than they were pre-pandemic, they’re higher than they were at the height of remote learning in 2021.

Andrea Thomas Brandley, an education analyst at the Kem C. Garnder Policy Institute, said a shorter lockdown time, hardworking teachers and post-pandemic funding are all factors in Utah’s higher test scores.

“How long different places stayed remote likely affected learning loss. And Utah was one of the states that returned to schools relatively quickly compared to other states.”

But despite the early return, teachers and students still spent a lot of time disinfecting classrooms and equipment and learning how to teach while being socially distant.

“A lot of time was lost,” Brandley said. “And lots of students were missing school because they were exposed to someone with COVID and they had to quarantine for so many days.”

Test scores are starting to recover, but have not reached pre-pandemic levels yet. Brandley said Utah schools are putting in the effort to get students caught up.

“A lot of schools are investing in tutoring for students, particularly students who fell further behind. There’s things like after-school programs and summer school programs. A lot of schools are investing in additional technology.”


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Research finds Utah test scores still recovering, but faring better than other states