Craven County improving test scores after more than year of virtual learning

School Watch

NEW BERN, N.C. (WNCT) — Many experts predict to see a loss in learning among school-aged children because of virtual learning environments in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. Craven County officials say this is affecting their students.

“For third- through eighth-graders in reading, our proficiency in those grade levels was 45.5% for this past school year,” said Dr. Tosha Diggs, Craven County Schools assistant superintendent for academic services. “The same for math, for those same assessments it was 35.9% proficient having met those minimum state proficiency scores. So we do have some work to do in those areas with those students.”

That means for both reading and math, in the 2020-2021 school year, more than 50 percent of students in third and eighth grades are not proficient in these subjects. Diggs said these numbers can be attributed to a lack of in-person learning.

“These students did not come back into the buildings in their normal or traditional settings since we got out in March of 2020,” Diggs said.

Before this school year, most students in this age range were only attending in-person classes a maximum of two days a week.

“For middle school students, it ranged from one to two days until about April of last school year, so that lack of face-to-face instruction and time with their teacher contributed to some of the gaps we noticed,” Diggs said.

She said they’ve taken steps to meet students where they’re at with these gaps, starting with summer school.

“We gave that opportunity to all of our students across the district over this last summer because that was a face-to-face opportunity for everyone,” she said.

The district also tailors learning plans for each student.

“Each of the students are doing some beginning of the year assessments just to see where the students stood, what kind of learning deficits there may have been,” Diggs said. “Then catering what they’re doing with the students to start where the students are. We don’t want to skip along just because we think they should be farther along than what they are.”

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