Op-Ed: New test scores show students lost a lot of ground in the pandemic. Overreacting won’t help
This coronavirus pandemic has been going on for nearly two months. With so little information, let’s not jump to conclusions, but let’s look at what the latest data shows us.
A new report from the Washington Post found that average math and reading scores are down nearly 1.5 percent when compared to the 2019-20 standards when they were adjusted for inflation. This is good news. On the surface, it seems as though there’s a problem. But the story doesn’t do all that well.
In one of his tweets, President Donald Trump wrote:
I have been asked to make a statement on the results of the testing. As I have long said, the results of the testing are meaningless. But the testing (conducted prior to the pandemic) was always voluntary. You volunteered to take the tests vs. the government testing that was mandated. Therefore, the results are only as good as your willingness to take them.
Trump was being polite. But let’s look deeper.
The Washington Post cites a new study by Robert Zaller and Sherry Turkle, called “Why Now? The Great Recession and After,” which found that the economy is a lot worse than we previously thought, with nearly half the country below the poverty line. Also, the report found that only 45 percent of Americans are “better off” than they were in 2007.
So why is Trump complaining about math scores? Is it because he claims the test was biased toward those who were economically better-off? Maybe. But he also claims the test was biased toward the test-takers and therefore, the test probably shouldn’t have been used in the first place.
Trump says the test was taken prior to the coronavirus pandemic.
It depends on how you define “test.” In one of his tweets, Trump claims the test was “voluntary.” But there was a catch: the government mandated that