Pandemic brings lower test scores

November 28, 2022

According to sophomore Ryan Steinberg, lower test scores could be attributed to students re-adjusting after COVID-19.

“With COVID-19, a lot of kids were at home for a long time. (COVID-19) made a lot of students forget what it’s like to be in a classroom and what it’s like to have a lot of assignments and have to pay attention during a long school day,” Steinberg said. “That made it challenging for kids to get their assignments in — more so than before COVID-19. Kids are still re-adjusting to being in a classroom.”

Science teacher Patrick Hartman said that test scores may have declined over COVID-19 as students committed less to studying.

“When I was teaching distance (learning), I never knew how long it was going to last, so I didn’t devote myself 100% to it. My AP test scores went down that year. They were better last year and I hope that they continue to rise,” Hartman said. “It was tough because a lot of kids were at home for a good chunk of time. Some kids forgot how to be students and dig in and for the AP course that I teach, you have to do a lot of reading and studying. That’s hard for students that have gotten used to skating by when we were at home.”

What we should do is look at the data, analyze it and learn from it and then take action to improve the data. Learning from data and taking action is important.”

— Heather Mueller

According to testing coordinator Teresa Petta, test scores have been negatively affected by higher opt-out rates.

“When a student decides to opt-out, they’re still counted in test score data. When you have people opting out, it’s hurting our scores. If you took out the opt-out numbers out of the data, our scores look very good. They’re much better than some other schools in the state,” Petta said. “When you opt out at testing, you’re hurting yourself, but you’re also hurting your school district because they lose funding based on those test scores. It can put us in a position that we don’t want to be in.”

Senior Fiona Long said testing scores may be faltering due to a lack of desire to take standardized tests after COVID-19.

“A lot of colleges are going test-optional and so people don’t feel like they’re required to take standardized tests like the ACT or SAT,” Long said. “A lot of people got used to not doing work during COVID-19, so many students are behind in English and math skills that help with these tests.”

Commissioner of Education Heather Mueller said that schools should focus on learning from data to improve as a response to lower test scores.

“We saw a year where there were no tests given and where there were more opt outs. It is still important data, but it is not an indication of what a student’s outcome will truly be,” Mueller said. “The test scores are not that surprising in context and we shouldn’t dwell on the data. What we should do is look at the data, analyze it and learn from it and then take action to improve the data. Learning from data and taking action is important.”

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