SCS students behind in reading and math, data says

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — New school data shows Shelby County students are falling behind in school with reading and math and the pandemic is making things worse.

Data shows more students are falling behind in math than reading but overall both are down compared to last year.

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These numbers coming from two diagnostic tests students took recently.

“We have to remember that we had a six-month gap in education and with that, we should all know that there should be difficulty in reading and math,” said Teresea Medlock.

Medlock works for Memphis Lift, an organization focused on helping parents and students in Memphis.

She was not surprised that students were falling behind in their studies due to COVID-19.

The data showed 29 percent of students in math are behind two or more grade levels compared to 23 percent historically.

For reading, 28 percent of students are behind two or more grade levels compared to 27 percent historically.

Medlock said she doesn’t understand why more children are behind in math than reading.

“I know the numbers should be about the same. The reading should be where the math is honestly,” said Medlock.

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The other assessment looks at if students are on track to master their learning standards for reading and math from last year.

In both studies, it shows students in first and second grade are doing pretty well in math and reading but SCS noted this wasn’t completely accurate because many of the students were helped by adults.

“We don’t see what children really do so this is where the data is skewed,” said Medlock.

In grades 3rd through 12th, it showed less than 30 percent of students are on track to master learning standards for reading and math.

Memphis Lift is pushed for more individualized learning so parents, students and teachers can figure out how each student can succeed.

“There should be more communication about what the data says. We also should discuss more about what the thoughts are surrounding why we see higher reading levels during this time,” she said.

SCS said it is putting together school data nights to discuss the test results.

It also planned on implementing a 90-day plan for improvement.

Medlock said this is a step in the right direction but there is still a long way to go.

“We need to really take a  moment and perfect what we are doing. We are getting better at it so why not continue to make it better,” she said.