Louisiana sees improvement in reading levels

Louisiana’s fourth graders are leading the nation in showing the most improvement in reading levels, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
Published: Oct. 24, 2022 at 5:39 PM CDT|Updated: Oct. 24, 2022 at 6:20 PM CDT
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Louisiana’s fourth graders are leading the nation in showing the most improvement in reading levels, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.

The group released the latest scorecard for schools across the country through its Nation’s Report Card.

“Our outcomes across Louisiana, for a long time, haven’t been what we want them to be,” says Louisiana State Superintendent Dr. Cade Brumley. “However, I think this is a signal that our recovery strategy is working.”

Back in 2019, fourth-grade reading levels ranked as low as 50th in the nation. Now, Louisiana ranks 42nd in the nation.

Brumley says this is a huge success following concerns about learning loss due to the pandemic.

“Them being in daily face-to-face instruction really mattered. In the first year coming out of the pandemic, we saw the disparities between students who were fully remote and those who were in daily face-to-face instruction,” explains Brumley.

Brumley says their comeback plan worked. Every traditional public school or charter school had to develop a game plan to get kids back on track and close the learning gap. Brumley adds they put a heavy focus on phonics and working with students who fell behind.

“Are we back to pre-pandemic levels across the board? No. Are we marking progress toward that? Yes,” adds Brumley.

The Nation’s Report Card also assessed math skills for fourth and eighth-graders. For Louisiana’s eighth-grade level math skills, the state’s average score sits at -8% for 2022.

“Eighth-grade math was the most significant fall across the country,” explains Brumley. “We did not fall as much as the national average. But certainly, we did see a decline there. This is an area that for some time has been problematic.”

Brumley says they will focus more on improving math skills with the hope of making strides similar to the state’s reading levels. He says they will be sending additional support to Louisiana schools to focus more on the foundational skills for mathematics and not just conceptual skills.

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