Educators work to keep kids ‘on track’ during the pandemic


MAP assessment results reflect the impact COVID-19 has had on student's education

NORTHWEST ARKANSAS (KNWA/KFTA) — Whether they’re learning virtually or in the classroom, local schools are gauging how students are doing so far this school year.

“Some students really have a lot of help at home and some don’t,” Dr. Kelli Dougan said.

Dr. Dougan is the Director of Assessment, Research, and Accountability with Fayetteville schools.

It’s through the Measure of Academic Progress (MAP), which compares their scores with others in their grade around the nation. Typically students take the test three times a year but in 2020 because of COVID-19, they’ll only take it twice — in the fall and winter.

“We’re learning a lot of how can we step in and fill that gap,” Dr. Dougan said. “We’re going to be forming groups in every school to work on it by students.”

She says results from this fall show a little more than half of the students dropped anywhere from 1-10 percentile from where they were last year.

“We actually feel pretty good about that we feel that that’s something we can work with that we can get them caught up by the end of the year,” Dr. Dougan said.

Way up north, Decatur Superintendent Dr. Steve Watkins says roughly 43% of students showed growth from winter to fall, about 33% stayed the same and 15% regressed. Though, he says this is to be expected.

“If there is a surprise it’s that we didn’t see a larger regression,” Dr. Watkins said. “We were fearful we would see a much larger gap in those skills.”

Watkins says the school district has created its own task force, dedicated to keeping all students on track.

“It is unique to Decatur it addresses our kid’s needs, our teacher’s needs and the community needs,” Dr. Watkins.

Both say the results from this next round will be used to assess curriculums and decide what resources the district needs for the upcoming semester.

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