The pandemic hurt education on many levels and in many locations in the world. New Jersey seems to be one of the places with a severe decrease in performance on an educational level. When the state implemented the first standardized tests since the pandemic, students showed that they struggle in almost every subject, especially language arts and math. While these results weren’t fully unexpected, they encouraged the state to make some immediate changes to help the students and offer solutions.
Keep reading to find out how NJ schools started to wise up.
The Results of National Testing in New Jersey after the Pandemic
Online learning didn’t prove to be a good substitute to traditional learning. Students and teachers had to adapt to this new way without any preparation, which led to struggling on both sides. Based on the results of the first testing after the pandemic, students have been failing to build their knowledge in subjects they used to excel in, such as math.
It seems like students will need a lot of help in the months that follow now that they have to re-adapt to the old way of learning. Since math seems to be one of the subjects with the biggest gaps at the moment, schools need to come up with solutions. One good solution to help students with their math homework is a math questions and answers source. Students can use it to get the assistance they need, whenever they need it.
But, the state also needs to make some changes to improve the learning of its youth. Students already lost around 7 years of progress because of the pandemic, and even the testing results were delayed for too long, delaying the much-needed changes in high schools in the area.
According to the national testing results, proficiency rates fell back to the levels measured in 2015. There was a gradual increase from 2015 to 2019, and the state lost it all during the pandemic.
The results show that 51.1% of students aren’t meeting the expectations in English Language Arts tests and 64.6% of them aren’t meeting the expectations in math.
Joshua Glazer, a professor of education policy at the George Washington University believes that the bad results were somewhat ‘sobering’ and that they show the state that ‘school education matters’.
Some Schools in NJ Scored Better in Math
Despite the dismal drops, some NJ students did better than the country’s average on NAEP math. Even though the overall numbers decreased, math still seems to be a loved and understood subject in this state. In general, students scored higher than the average on a national level.
The largest dips in math scores measured since 1990 were from fourth and eighth grade students who took the NAEP. Their scores in 2022 dropped 11 points since 2019. Despite this, 38% of fourth grade students scored at or above the average levels, keeping this state above the average even today.
How are NJ Schools Wising Up?
There are a few initiatives that are already put in motions to repair this situation. For starters, the initiative by the NK Partnership for Student Success led to using 5,000 volunteers that will help with coaching, tutoring, and mental health improvement.
The acting commissioner has also expressed worry about the elementary students whose education was interrupted right when they were supposed to learn the basics like reading or doing math. We can expect the state to step up to fill in the gaps in knowledge in these students.
Officials have also spoken of plans to reverse course and dedicate tons of money for education recovery initiatives. The Murphy administration earmarked almost $270 million for this purpose. Under the mentoring plan mentioned above, the state is said to spend $10 million for the tutoring program and $5 on 2 early literacy programs.
The details are still unknown, so we are yet to find out which districts and how many of them will get the funding.
That’s not all that changed. Schools have started introducing vocational subjects to give students the option to pursue their passion and give them an alternative to the expensive college route. This is aimed to provide young people with the opportunity to learn a trade and earn a better income.
For example, Cherokee has announced that they’ll offer a Construction, Building and Carpentry program starting 2023. This is the example of a program that gives students an alternative to costly and long-term college education. The program will offer education in electricity, plumbing, masonry, and carpentry.
The world seems to be coming to its senses when it comes to education. It took a pandemic to make us realize how important education is, and look for ways to enrich it for students, as well as give them more options and opportunities for success.