The education shortfall: The drop in performance in the upper grades is a wake-up call for the federal government and the states

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By Education Today

Posted on May 28, 2022


2 min read

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The findings of the National Achievement Survey (NAS) 2021 demonstrate the magnitude of the learning loss caused by Covid-19-induced school closures. Pupils in classes 3, 5, 8, and 10 (part of the survey sample) showed a significant drop in performance, with average mathematics scores for class 3 students decreasing 15 points from 2017 and for class 5 students falling 26 points. While younger students have more time to repair learning gaps, the situation is more serious for those in older grades, with math scores dropping 14 points in class 8 and alarmingly 34 points in class 10. The NAS poll included over 3.4 million kids from over 100,000 schools in 720 districts, allowing governments to fully comprehend the extent of action required. The findings of the survey demonstrate why the country must prepare for a rise in socio-economic disparities, with kids in urban regions, particularly the older ones, outperforming their rural counterparts in a number of topics. For example, in both classes 8 and 10, science results were much higher for urban pupils. Surprisingly, the average scores of these sectors didn’t differ all that much in 2017; indeed, in most states, rural students outscored their urban counterparts in science.
Given the trade-off between pursuing education and seeking a livelihood, learning loss in later years of school might result in a greater dropout rate. This might mean that the National Education Policy’s (NEP) aim of increasing the gross enrolment ratio at the postsecondary level is not met. Thus, the focus must be on providing optimised solutions for ‘teaching at the learning level’ in classrooms—where each student’s learning level is mapped and tailored solutions are generated for groups within the class that are generally at the same level of learning. This necessitates moving beyond the Centre’s belief that bridging courses may remedy pandemic-related learning deficits.