Low Test Scores: How to set your kids up for success

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Recently the National Assessment of Educational Progress released a report indicating that there has been a decline in reading and math test scores across the country.

The assessment shows a decline of four points in reading and nine points in math.

We spoke to two schools in the Duluth area on what could be the root cause of this recurring decline and what parents can do in order to set their kids up for success.

Nathan Glöckle, the principal of Duluth Area Learning Center says the pandemic and staffing issues are some of the things affecting student learning.

“Well, there really are a lot of compounding issues and challenges that schools are facing right now. At the Area Learning Center here in Duluth, we see students who are needing credit recovery to fulfill graduation requirements. Just this year, we had about 400 more students enroll in our program due to credit deficiencies. This is a lot higher than the classes we completed last year, and I believe it is a direct result of the pandemic. Also, schools in the area are understand staff and getting substituted teachers has been challenging.”

Lindsey Molstad is the Director of Service Experience at Reading and Math Corps here in Duluth. She says the decline was moderate before getting exacerbated by the pandemic.

“With our Minnesota students, a little bit below a third of them are actually reading or doing math at grade level. So, the results that just came out kind of confirm things that we already knew, but also got exacerbated by the pandemic.”

Both organizations say they have more than enough resources at their leaning center to help students catch up on time.

Nathan said “At Denfeld High School, we’re providing seat-based courses for all of our high school students who failed their course during the school year. Our second session is going to be starting on July 10th, which is a great opportunity to get some credit that they need. We also provide credit recovery if students are 16-year-old or over at our Learning Center.”

Lindsey highlight the services her center offers “One of the options that we have for our schools is to bring in our early learning core which are reading core and math core programs. These programs are designed to help support and boost our students’ skills in other subjects also not just reading and math. Students who work with our tutors are able to make over a year’s worth of growth in a short period of time.”

They also said parents can use this summer to set their kids up for success by checking and monitoring their report cards. They advise that if parents notice that their child is struggling, they should immediately speak to the school principal and counselor in order to work out a personal learning plan.  

Nathan said, “There’s a ton of research that supports that early intervention for students is the key to a successful on time graduation rate.”