The question of how badly kids are falling behind during the pandemic has been a lingering question for parents with students in Nashville schools. But given the district’s almost all virtual back to school plan, and technical problems during testing, learning loss hasn’t been easy to measure.
Slightly less than half the district’s nearly 81,000 students attempted the Measures of Academic Progress assessment during a month-long testing period that stretched from Aug. 17 to Sept. 18. This is about 6,300 students fewer than were tested last year.
The assessment was somewhat mandated for students in grades K-9. Testing was optional for 10th and 11th graders. The district says testing data from Metro Nashville Public Schools generally show that the biggest learning loss is occurring in math more than reading. There are also performance growth gaps by student income, language and race.
However, the district does say that “scores appear to be relatively consistent with past performance” for the majority of students.
Results also show at least some year-to-year overall growth for high school students in both math and reading.
But there has been a decline in growth among middle schoolers — although even the lowest scores are only slightly below the national average.
Meanwhile, elementary students did appear to perform significantly higher on the assessment than last year’s, but the district says the scores are likely inflated: They were probably helped by an adult when they took the test.
The majority of Metro Schools students haven’t been inside a classroom for at least seven months. Only students with disabilities and the district’s youngest students have been allowed to return to school buildings since the start of the pandemic. The district is planning to implement the MAP test again in January.