**FILE** Courtesy of the Maryland State Department of Education via Twitter
**FILE** Courtesy of the Maryland State Department of Education via Twitter

The ongoing coronavirus pandemic’s adverse effect on Maryland students is becoming clearer, with preliminary data showing pronounced declines in test scores for proficiency.

A learning assessment test showed drops in proficiency for English language arts, mathematics and kindergarten readiness, the Maryland State Department of Education said Wednesday.

Of the 92% of students statewide in grades 3-8 who took the test in the fall, only 35% met or exceeded expectations in English, 39% for science and 15% for math.

By comparison, those numbers for the 2018-2019 school year, the most recent pre-pandemic year, were 43.7% for English, and 33% for math.

For kindergarteners, the readiness level fell from 47% in 2018-2019 to 40% for the current school year.

State Superintendent Mohammed Choudhury said the results were to be expected and an effort is underway to remedy the losses.

“The preliminary assessment data confirms what we anticipated: Learning suffered during the pandemic, and we must be innovative, collaborative and bold in our approach to accelerate student achievement and support mental, social and emotional health,” Choudhury said in a statement. “We will not accept a return to normal, because normal was not good enough, especially for those who have been historically underserved.”

The department has provided local school districts with the data to come up with strategies to deal with the learning loss. Additionally, federal money from the American Rescue Plan Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief program will be used for student engagement, mental health support and to deal with learning disruptions.

The final results will be released at the end of January, the department said.

WI Guest Author

This correspondent is a guest contributor to The Washington Informer.

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