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77% of students at Baltimore high school reading at elementary levels, teacher saysby Jeremiah Poff

77% of students at Baltimore high school reading at elementary levels, teacher says by Jeremiah Poff, Education Reporter February 01, 2022 03:33 PM

Over three-quarters of a Baltimore high school’s students are reading at an elementary level, a teacher at the school says. The last available edition of the Nation’s Report Card, released in 2019 prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, showed that only 37% of grade 12 students could be considered proficient readers, according to the Department of Education's standard. Now, a teacher at Patterson High School in Baltimore has informed a local news outlet that 77% of students there were reading at an elementary or even kindergarten level, indicating that the nation may see a precipitous drop in the reports for 2020 and 2021. SCHOOL MASK WARS REACH BOILING POINT AS DISTRICTS THREATEN SUSPENSIONS “They're pushed through [grade levels],” the teacher told WBBF. “They're not ready for the workforce. They're not ready for further education.” WBBF obtained the results of the school’s i-Ready learning assessment, which confirmed the teacher’s claim. Out of 628 students tested, 484 showed a reading level proficiency equal to that of an elementary school student, including 159 who were at a kindergarten or first grade level. Data from student assessments in several states have shown that pandemic-related school closures likely contributed to a decline in student achievement.

A Texas Education Agency assessment for spring 2021 found that 36% of students in fourth grade met grade-level reading standards, while 45% of eighth grade students met grade-level standards for reading. The agency said the numbers represented a decline from previous years.

“As a result of the learning disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of students not meeting grade level increased from 2019 across all subject areas and grade levels, with English I and English II being the only exceptions,” the agency said at the time.

Texas was one of several states where state officials resisted efforts to block schools from in-person learning. Students in California fared no better. The number of students who were reading above grade standard declined from 26% in 2019 to 21% in 2021, while the percentage of students near grade standards increased from 43% to 56%.

Education experts warned about learning loss due to pandemic-related school closures. Healthcare experts in the United States have insisted that school is the safest place for students to be despite opposition from administrators and teachers unions.

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