AP reports that according to statewide MCAS test results from the spring 2021 exam released Tuesday by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, the COVID-19 pandemic has certainly taken its toll on students in the Bay State.

Data from the DESE shows that Massachusetts school test scores dropped significantly over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic. Results show that many more students had gaps in their knowledge of math and, to a lesser extent, English language arts, compared to students in the same grades before the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Also, fewer students are meeting or exceeding expectations for their grade levels. Governor Baker said it was the predictable result from major loss of in-person learning time:

There have been several national studies that have already been done on the learning loss that was borne by kids across the country during the course of the COVID pandemic, primarily as a result of the loss of in-person learning. And Massachusetts was no exception to that.

The state did not administer MCAS tests near the beginning of the pandemic in spring 2020. That means the most recent year to compare with this year’s scores is 2019.

According to the DESE, 33 percent of students in third through eighth grade met or exceeded grade-level expectations on their math scores, compared to 49 percent in 2019. For English language arts, 46 percent of students met or exceeded expectations, compared to 52 percent in 2019.

For 10th grade math, 52% of students scored “meeting expectations” or higher, compared to 59% in 2019. In 10th grade English language arts, 64% of students either met expectations or scored higher compared to 61% in 2019.

Here's what Education Secretary James Peyser had to say:

The MCAS tests administered in the spring provide Massachusetts educators and families with critical insight into where students did not progress academically, and the results clearly illustrate how the disrupted school year of remote and hybrid learning impacted students’ academic achievement. We will continue to work with districts to support efforts to regain learning that did not happen and promote student success and educational equity.

For more on the story, please visit the Associated Press' website here.

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