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(The Center Square) – Tennessee mirrored the national trend with lower test score results in both reading and math as shown in the Nation’s Report Card from the National Assessment of Educational Progress.

The test scores dropped for Tennessee fourth and eighth graders by at least four points, on average, in both math and reading.

“No one should be surprised at the national decline in student achievement, but everyone should feel an ongoing sense of urgency to address it, matched with a clear and ambitious plan of action,” said Tennessee Department of Education Commissioner Penny Schwinn. “Tennessee will continue to focus on effective implementation of its comprehensive plan which invests in research-backed interventions to help all students recover from the pandemic and accelerate their learning beyond prepandemic levels. Importantly, our teachers and students are already seeing improvements as a result of their hard work and focus on early literacy, tutoring, summer programming, and other academic programs that our state has launched in the past year to boost achievement.”

The lower scores were attributed to learning loss during the COVID-19 pandemic with school closures and later classroom mitigation efforts.

“These data show us that students across the state, and particularly students from historically underserved groups, have been significantly impacted by the pandemic,” State Collaborative on Reforming Education President and CEO David Mansouri said in a statement. “As a state, we’ve identified key strategies to support student recovery, such as a comprehensive approach to improving early literacy, implementing high-dosage tutoring, and expanding summer learning opportunities. These are the right interventions, and now we must commit to implementing these strategies with quality, consistency, and for all students.”

The majority of Tennessee’s learning loss initiatives began implementation in January 2022 and are not reflected in these NAEP results, according to the Department of Education.

The results shows that students of color, English learners and students with disabilities were particularly negatively impacted, according to the department.

“The challenges of the pandemic will continue to impact students for years to come, and we must continue forward with a relentless commitment to doing what is best for kids – we must double-down on what works, with an unwavering focus on high-quality implementation of strategic initiatives that meets every single student where they are and elevates and accelerates their learning,” Schwinn said.

Originally published on thecentersquare.com, part of the TownNews Content Exchange.