Tennessee students likely experienced ‘significant’ learning loss due to school closures this year, state says

Meghan Mangrum:

Tennessee students have likely experienced significant learning loss, especially in reading and math, this year due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

Preliminary data released Wednesday by the Tennessee Department of Education projects an estimated 50% decrease in proficiency rates in 3rd grade reading and a projected 65% decrease in proficiency in math.

“The department has identified trends that indicate real challenges that have been experienced by students at all levels.” Gov. Bill Lee said during a news briefing Wednesday. “It just shows how important it is that our kids get back into the classroom and that’s why we’ve put such a strong effort in making sure our kids do return back to classrooms for in-person learning.”

Lee characterized the data as “an alarm that’s been sounded.”

“We are seeing through this report an alarm that’s been sounded, especially with regard to not only the short term impacts on kids but the long-term impact on our state,” Lee said.

Most students traditionally experience some sort of learning loss over the summer, but educators have worried that students might experience greater loss since schools initially closed in March thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

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