CMS outlines plan to address Nation’s report card showing decrease in math and reading

“We’re not trying to get back to normal, we’re trying to get back to better,”
Efforts to get some CMS students back on track will take time.
Published: Oct. 25, 2022 at 10:16 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools released their plan of action to bridge the learning gap that was created by the pandemic.

The Nation’s report card released Monday by The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) showed nationwide and for CMS, both math and reading proficiency levels decreased.

NAEP released results based on a random sampling of students tested in January of 20202 for 4th and 8th graders.


It found in CMS, 33% of 4th graders were proficient in reading, compared to 39 percent in 2019 before the pandemic, and 35% of 4TH graders were proficient in math compared to 49 percent in 2019. Students in 8th grade followed a similar pattern, 29% were proficient in reading compared to 32% in 2019, and 30% were proficient in math compared to 41% in 2019.

Related: Test scores show historic COVID setbacks for kids across US

Interim Superintendent of CMS, Hugh Hattabaugh said, “I don’t think it was scores that we did not anticipate nationally with school closures that occurred during the pandemic then trying to get students back.”

The school system tells WBTV that efforts are already underway to help close the achievement gap in critical areas.

“We’re not trying to get back to normal, we’re trying to get back to better,” said Frank Barnes, the Chief Accountability Officer of CMS.

Some of the top priorities include monitoring the academic needs of students in the areas of math and reading. Along with that, students will be examined three times a year on their foundational skills to see where they are.

“It’s going to be a multi-year process,” said Barnes.

Schools are dealing with what some are calling the pandemic achievement gap and efforts to get some CMS students back on track will take time. This is after schools across the nation and within CMS saw decreases in math and reading proficiency.

Sarah Ritcer, a CMS Parent said, “there were some things that just didn’t translate very well during the pandemic, unfortunately.”

Math and reading saw the largest drops among 4th and 8th graders in CMS.

While the data was just released Monday, the district has been working to fill in the gaps where students fell behind.

Barnes said, “The board set four goals with specific targets for this year and for the 23-24 school year that has us on trajectory that by the end of next year to either be at or beyond where students were entering into the pandemic.”

Some of those goals include adjusting daily schedules and offering tutoring and smaller groups to meet the educational needs of students.

A parent at Dilworth Elementary School has already noticed some changes in the classroom.

Ritcer said, “The teachers have been working really hard to mitigate some of those results and doing their best to make sure everybody is catching up where they need to be.”

Parents are just hopeful the school district’s goals will help the students when they’re tested again.

“I’m hopeful that the teachers have been able to take the time to see what has worked and maybe what didn’t work and build on that so that by the time the testing come around, they’re fully prepared to go forward,” said Ritcer.

CMS has a goal of getting students back to pre-pandemic levels by the end of next school year.

While reading and math scores were down nationally and within CMS, the school system says students still outperformed when comparing the state, other large cities, and national proficiency levels.