States Resort To Desperate Measures To Make Up For Pandemic Learning Loss

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  • States are offering more tutoring services to help students catch up after national averages in math and reading dropped between 2019-2022.
  • The national average for eighth grade math scores dropped eight-points since 2019 and reading dropped three-points, according to the Nation’s Report Card.
  • The Biden administration told schools to use outstanding pandemic relief funding to provide additional services to help students academically recover.

State leaders are implementing new ways to boost their students’ academic scores after recent reports found that national averages plummeted in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Nation’s Report Card revealed that eighth-grade national math and reading scores dropped eight and three points, respectively, while average fourth-grade scores fell five and three points. Now, states are trying to regain traction by implementing tutoring systems and providing additional support to help students catch up. (RELATED: Students Could Lose $70,000 Each In Their Lifetime Thanks To Pandemic Learning Loss)

Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham of New Mexico and the state’s Public Education Department (PED) announced mid-December that 20 hours of online tutoring sessions would become available to families with students between pre-K and eighth grade at no charge, according to the governor’s press release. The sessions are offered through Paper Education Inc., a virtual tutoring company, and will help with mathematics, language arts and science.

“Since day one, my administration has been committed to investing in every available tool to deliver every educational opportunity to New Mexico students,” Grisham said in the press release. “This investment in high-quality tutoring will further support students and families across the state as we continue to build the strongest possible educational foundation for New Mexico children.”

The average scores for New Mexico fourth and eighth-grade students declined in math and reading from the start of the pandemic to now, according to the Nation’s Report Card. The average eighth-grade and fourth-grade math scores fell ten-points between 2019 and 2022, while eighth-grade reading scores dropped four-points and fourth-grade scores dropped six-points.

“We know that tutoring can help close gaps for our students who are struggling to master concepts in classrooms alone,” said Kurt Steinhaus, PED secretary. “This investment in customized support will serve our students efficiently and with immediacy.”

Many New Mexico public schools were closed for more than a year after the pandemic began. They were officially reopened by April 5, 2021, the Albuquerque Journal reported.

The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) directed $25 million of pandemic relief funds to launch a “high-impact tutoring” program which was first available to districts that were “disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic,” according to its website. The Illinois Tutoring Initiative partnered with higher education institutions to pair tutors with eligible students individualized and small group tutoring up to three hours per week.

“The Illinois Tutoring Initiative prioritizes serving students based on districts’ adequacy of funding, concentration of low-income students, disproportionate COVID-19 impact, lost in-person instructional time during the 2020-21 school year, and current level of academic support resources and programs,” the website reads.

Illinois eighth-graders showed an eight-point decline in average math scores between 2019 and 2022.

The program offers literacy and math tutoring for students in third grade through eighth grade, while high school students may qualify for online math tutoring.

The ISBE reportedly directed public schools to reopen during the fall 2021 semester.

A masked student receives an in-person lesson at Yung Wing School P.S. 124 on January 05, 2022 in New York City.

A masked student receives an in-person lesson at Yung Wing School P.S. 124 on January 05, 2022 in New York City. (Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images)

The New Hampshire Department of Education partnered with, an online tutoring service, to provide “every middle and high school student across New Hampshire has unlimited access to 24/7, 1-to-1 online tutoring and drop-off review services,” according to the program’s website. The services are provided free-of-charge to students for a wide range of subjects.

Eighth-grade math scores fell eight-points between 2019 and 2022 while reading scores dropped five-points, according to the Nation’s Report Card. Fourth-grade math scores fell six-points in the time span while there was “no significant difference” in reading scores.

Schools were reportedly ordered by to reopen by April 19, 2021 after being closed for a year.

Frank Edelblut, department commissioner, told the Daily Caller News Foundation that New Hampshire implemented a “unique” approach to education post-pandemic.

“We’ve tried very hard to help our kids get back to normal after the pandemic,” he said, and listed off a series of programs the state helping send kids to summer campus.

“Truthfully, I think part of academic recovery, one of the most important things you can do is just allow the kids to be kids because that’s where they’re going to thrive and be the most well-adjusted, which makes it that much easier for them to access their education,” he said.

A state assessment in 2022 showed that students are recovering, Edelblut told the DCNF.

“We were not back on track, but we certainly saw recovery and so we’ll be administering another assessment here in the spring of ’23 and we get to see how we’re doing,” he said.

The New Jersey Department of Education furthered a Biden administration plea this summer to recruit more tutors to help minimize learning loss consequences, according to its website. Its Partnership for Student Success program’s three year goal is to set up 5,000 citizens “as tutors, mentors, student success coaches, wraparound service coordinators, and post-secondary transition coaches.”

The program hopes volunteers will be able to help boost the state’s graduation rates, improve academics, reduce absenteeism and improve students’ mental health.

“Just as local churches, community centers, and parent groups were asked to support remote learning, serve meals to students, and provide childcare during the early days of the pandemic to keep students learning, NJPSS now asks for individuals to serve as mentors, tutors, wraparound service coordinators, and to provide that additional support for students and educators through the expansion, improvement, and/or creation of high quality, evidence-based programs to further academic success and growth,” the website reads.

New Jersey eighth-graders averaged an eight-point drop in math scores and a five-point drop in reading scores between 2019-2022, according to the Nation’s Report Card. Fourth-grade math scores fell six-points while reading scores remained approximately the same.

New Jersey schools were ordered to resume in-person learning at the start of the 2021-2022 academic year after being shut down in 2020, The New York Times reported.

In July, the Biden administration told schools to use $122 billion from the American Rescue Plan to fund tutoring and other academic programs to combat learning loss from the pandemic. It also unveiled a partnership with the National Partnership for Student Success  which aims to provide students access to 250,000 extra tutors over 3-years.

Lujan Grisham, PED, Paper Education Inc., the Illinois State Board of Education,, the New Jersey Department of Education and the White House did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.

This story has been updated with comment from Frank Edelblut of the New Hampshire Department of Education.

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