DENVER – How did remote learning over the past two years affect student learning in Colorado? New state assessment results from the Colorado Department of Education are providing the first real glimpse of the effects the pandemic had in the classroom.
Overall, results from state assessments taken in the spring show improvements over the previous year, but “there is still more work to be done to fully recover from the lost learning opportunities over the last couple of years,” a news release from the CDE states.
The results from the Colorado Measures of Academic Success (CMAS) tests show scores improved from 2021 for most grades that took the math and English Language Arts (ELA) tests, but those scores were still below 2019 levels in almost every grade level and subject area.
One of the biggest surprises from the CMAS results? Third graders met or exceeded expectations in English at nearly the same level they did prior to the pandemic, with only a 0.6% drop in 2022 compared to 2019. There was a 1.6% improvement for third graders in this subject area when compared to 2021, the results show.
More Colorado students who tested in math also met or exceeded expectations this spring than they did in 2021, scoring between 2.2% and 2.9% higher in the spring than they did last year.
“Today, we celebrate the fact that student scores were better in most cases than they were in 2021, but we continue to face the challenge of fully bringing kids back to the levels they were before the disruptions of the pandemic as well as closing the historic opportunity and achievement gaps,” said Colorado Education Commissioner Katy Anthes.
Colorado high schoolers who took the PSAT and SATs tested lower than at or above benchmark for both Evidence-based Reading and Writing (EBRW) and math than they did in 2019, with the exception of 10th graders who took the PSAT. This cohort of students saw a 2.1% increase in EBRW and a 0.6% in math, the results show.
A summary of the results states that achievement gaps between historically lower performing and historically high performing groups continued to persist in the spring of 2022. While gaps decreased from 2019, the report shows, those reductions were “mostly the result of larger decreases in the percentage of students who met or exceeded expectations in typically higher performing groups than in increases among the historically lower performing groups.”
The CMAS results also showed that Black students participated at lower rates than students from other racial/ethnic backgrounds. Students with disabilities also tended to test less than students without disabilities.
Black and Hispanic students also had lower participation rates than Asian or white groups, according to the results released Wednesday.
CDE officials said the impact of continued disruption in the classroom during the 2021-2022 school year due to the coronavirus pandemic should be taken into consideration when interpreting the latest assessment results.
Parents and educators who’d like to explore test results their particular school or district can do so by going to the CDE’s website.