ACT Aspire test score decline during COVID-19


FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) – The school year last year was anything but ordinary, and we’re now getting word that standardized test scores in Arkansas reflected that.  

This year’s ACT Aspire test score for Arkansas dropped substantially from where they were in 2019, granted there was a gap year between 2019 and 2021, but still, the drop has educators concerned. 

“What we saw in that comparison the biggest drop or decline is in the area of math,” said the deputy commissioner for the division of elementary and secondary education for the Arkansas Department of Education, Stacy Smith.

For 5th grade students in 2021, only 34 percent met math readiness standards, compared to 2019 when 49 percent were. 

Smith believes several factors played into this drop. 

“We did have kids in groups miss instruction, whether it was because they had to pivot due to COVID-19 or whether it was because when the schools shut down,” said Smith. 

For those who don’t know, the ACT Aspire is for grades 3 through 10 and it tests their reading, English, math, and science. 

Steve Watkins with the Decatur School District agrees distance learning was the culprit and plans to use the recently released score to develop a solution. 

“We’re going to really dig into those and break those down and really figure out the learning loses and skills for each individual,” said Watkins. 

In the case distance learning and guideline are back in place for the begging of the school year, Smith says they’re devising a plan to make sure test scores improve.

Part of which is dumping 90% of their American Rescue Plan dollars into supplying additional resources in the different districts. 

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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