Central Texas school district explains its response to alarming trend of plummeting student math scores

Published: Oct. 26, 2022 at 5:54 PM CDT
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WACO, Texas (KWTX) - The National Assessment of Educational Progress reports student math scores dropped to levels last seen in 2003 and experts believe the main factor is COVID learning loss, especially, since scores dropped from 2019 to 2022.

Midway Independent School District Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction Aaron Peña told KWTX the district’s recovery plan includes students engaging in more face-to-face interaction.

“Communicating back and forth with technology with their younger teachers, it was pretty tough, especially in a one-on-one, or small group setting. You just can’t replicate that quite as perfectly in an online situation,” said Peña.

The administrator said the state’s STAAR test shows that MISD students’ math scores dropped by five to 10 percent.

“We’re wanting to close those gaps; we’re making up the learning losses. But even a five to 10 percent decrease for us, that’s a pretty big deal. We don’t want to see students lose ground,” said Peña.

The Midway ISD administrator said elementary school kids were challenged more since they didn’t have much of a mathematical foundation.

“It’s really difficult, especially for kids who had interrupted years for those foundational years. That’s a lot of ground to cover at a very short amount of time, “said Peña.

The district says it isn’t struggling, but not where it was pre-pandemic.

Now, the schools have a specific time in the school day for remediation along with Saturday and summer tutoring to fill the gaps.

Aaron said the pressure is on for teachers, but improving points is worth it.

“It’s difficult to be a teacher right now because of the pandemic, the pressure that it’s brought. We try to tell teachers that it is a marathon, it’s not going to happen overnight,” said Peña.

The district said it’s using federal funding to pay educators for additional teaching up to 2024.

MISD is thinking of ways not to rely on the funding and continue remediation for students.