INDIANAPOLIS– The Indiana Department of Education (IDOE) announced the spring 2021 Indiana Learning Evaluation and Readiness Network (ILEARN) test results and provided initial details from a study that shows the impact the pandemic had on students.
The state’s COVID-19 Academic Impact Study shows the pandemic’s impact was substantial across schools, academic subjects and demographic groups.
“We know that English/language arts and math provide the foundational building blocks upon which future learning is achieved, with one year of learning building upon the next,” said Secretary of Education Dr. Katie Jenner. “These results confirm what we expected, and what we now know — student learning was significantly impacted by COVID-19. I applaud our Indiana educators who worked tirelessly to ensure a safe environment that kept many students in the classroom. Looking ahead, this new baseline and other student-level data provide direction on where we must focus individualized student learning over the coming years. This is not a time to admire the problem — this is a time to focus on solutions.”
IDOE said the study showed students in elementary and middle schools across the state experienced significant academic impact for mathematics and moderate to significant impact in English and language arts.
More data from the study will be available later this summer. The initial findings can be found here.
The study shows 40.5% of students are at or above proficiency standards in English/language arts, and 36.9% are at or above proficiency standards in mathematics.
“Significant gaps persist among Indiana’s racially and ethnically diverse, low-income, special education, and English language learner students,” IDOE noted.
The state says 97% of students participated in ILEARN this year, with results used for informational purposes only. The test was not administered in 2020 due to the pandemic.
“Due to variables in instruction from COVID-19 and the disruption of 2020 assessments, this year’s results should not be compared to 2019 results, as these 2021 results present a new Indiana baseline,” IDOE said.
“Indiana’s educators have done phenomenal work helping students continue to learn under unprecedented circumstances. Now more than ever, every instructional minute counts, and schools cannot do this alone. With data in hand, we must look to the future, and we need everyone to come to the table — educators, parents, community leaders and beyond — to provide individualized support and resources to each and every student,” said Secretary Jenner.
IDOE said it encourages schools to take on a multi-year response to help students recover academically, especially those most significantly impacted. This includes:
- Understanding the Data – First, analyze multiple individual student data points using state and local data to meet student needs where they are today.
- Intervening with Strategic Support – Use the right tools to help students, including additional staff resources to allow small group instruction and strategic leveraging of community resources and talent.
- Acting to Meet Students at Their Current Level – Based on data analysis, determine the action steps for individual students.
- Recognizing That One Size Does Not Fit All – Tailor instruction for individual or small groups, in particular those with specific learning needs.
- Innovating to Strategically Accelerate Learning – To support all students, new, bold, and dedicated efforts are essential.
- Leveraging Every Minute and Keeping the Focus on Student Impact – Be intentional with, and consider ways to expand, learning time. Devote uninterrupted blocks of time to literacy and math.
- Providing Intentional and Focused Instruction – Focus on grade-level instruction with remediation as needed for individual students, which includes ensuring understanding of fundamental, essential previous grade-level standards.