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JCPS students scored 'below average' on standardized tests

Virtual learning, teacher shortages and the COVID-19 pandemic have greatly impacted students, according to district officials.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Are schools really bouncing back to normal? Kentucky’s Annual School Report Card says otherwise.

The report released on Wednesday shows low test scores and significant achievement gaps among students.

The Kentucky Department of Education says many parents and school will feel concerned, but not surprised, after looking at this year’s assessment results.

Kentucky’s Commissioner of Education, Jason Glass, says it’s no surprise the past two years greatly impacted students.

“All of our kids experienced some kind of disruption through this pandemic," Glass said. "So just like it disrupted the economy, and the work force, and life, and the way we live our lives; It’s disrupted learning as well.”

Part of the reason why Glass says 2021 - 2022’s assessment results shouldn’t be measured up to years prior is because of the disruption the pandemic has caused.

Rhonda Sims, associate commissioner in the Kentucky Department of Education’s Office of Assessment and Accountability, said another reason you shouldn't compare this class's test results to years prior is because the department made changes to its assessments.

“The changes to the assessments are really based on the changes to the standard. But we haven’t had the opportunity to test them," Sims said. "Now you can look within this year at how students are doing across those NAPD (Novice, Apprentice, Proficient, Distinguished) but we would say not to compare to '18 or '19.”

A look at how students performed during the 2021- 2022 school year:

  • On a scale from 0 to 125, elementary school students in Kentucky scored a 59.3 in math and reading overall.
  • Middle schoolers in Kentucky scored a 56.9 in math and reading overall
  • High school students in Kentucky scored 56.6 in math and reading overall.

All of the test score averages above are considered below average.

Jefferson County Public Schools mirrors those results. JCPS elementary, middle and high school students performed low on their assessments.

In Hardin County and Oldham county, students scored average or higher.

“These problems were all here before, we knew about them before before the test data was released so now we just have to continue the work of recovery,” Glass said.

Glass says the department also plans to fix the achievement gap between white students and children of color, as well as between students who come from different economic backgrounds.

According to the report, JCPS students who are aren’t economically disadvantaged performed nearly 35% higher in reading than students who are.

“The gaps that were in place pre-pandemic are now larger than they were before," Glass said. "We’re going to have to recover even further for those groups of students.”

Glass believes the $2 billion in federal funding from the American Rescue Plan Act and everyone working together will help with recovery.

“This was not an insignificant disruption to learning that our students experienced, it wasn’t an insignificant event that we all lived through so we need to work on it diligently, patiently, and urgently," Glass said.

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