While many Arlington Public Schools middle-school students have bounced back from the COVID-lockdown learning slump, others are still feeling the effect of nearly a full school year out of the classroom.
The school system needs to “make sure we keep a close eye on those students still needing support,” Superintendent Francisco Dúran said after School Board members on March 10 received a good-news/bad-news report on math learning.
First, the good news: About 50 percent of students in sixth through eighth grades already have made up a full year’s worth of knowledge, suggesting that despite dropoffs in achievement scores owing to “virtual” learning from March 2020 through the spring of 2021, many youth are proving resilient.
Many, but not all.
About 30 percent of Arlington middle-school students scored “below basic” on mid-year math tests, a figure down from about 40 percent at the start of the school year and “a significant number,” Durán told School Board members.
The only limited success in getting that initial 40 percent back on track may raise the worrying concern that, for a segment of the student body, those who are now behind the math curve may stay there.
In remarks to School Board members, the superintendent said the school system was identifying students who need individualized instruction to make up for lost time. Those students would be “getting the extra support they need,” he said.