Test Data Show COVID-era Learning Loss in Loudoun

Data from academic growth assessments presented to the Loudoun County School Board on Tuesday shows that students in the district achieved lower than expected growth, although administrators said that Loudoun has maintained its status as a high-performing school division.

Measures of Academic Progress Assessments, or MAPs, are created by the academic nonprofit NWEA and are administered to students in grades 2-8. They’re used as a universal screener, and aim to provide an understanding of students’ mastery of a subject. The scoring reveals students’ growth, and the data gleaned provides a trajectory of a student’s future success. The data presented to the board used condition growth percentile as a metric to demonstrate who students compare to similar students in school districts that also use the NWEA screening program. For example, if a student scores in the 50th percentile, then the student’s growth was greater than 50% of test-takers. 

Ashley Ellis, the Assistant Superintendent of Instruction, said that the data shows that COVID-19 and hybrid and distance learning led to a decrease in proficiency, and highlights particularly low growth for English learners and students with IEPs. 

Typically, Loudoun students rank in the 50th-60th percentiles in growth relative to students across the country in math and reading, Ryan Tyler, the district’s director of Research, Assessment, and School Improvement told the board.

Data from the 2020-2021 MAP testing shows that no category of test takers scored higher than the 45thpercentile. Data is available for Asian, White, Black, and Hispanic students, as well as English learners and learners with Individualized Education Plans, special education plans created to meet a student’s individual needs.

“We are able to project a student’s path from fourth grade, to see whether they’re on a trajectory to be college-career ready by 11th grade. We have longitudinal data points. We’re able to see, are they staying within that path of a student at the 60th percentile? Are they losing ground with a long-term perspective?” Tyler explained to board members during a meeting in August.

Ellis shared a list of efforts to address learning loss, including flexible educational pathways for students at W.O. Robey High School, adoption of English learner-targeted textbooks, additional teaching assistants in first grade classrooms, and expansion of Math Workshops at all levels. 

The district is also employing WestEd, a California-based education analysis nonprofit, to conduct an audit of the testing and curriculum. 

“We’re getting students that we need to learn how to serve better,” Tyler said. “I think it’s especially important to remember that when reflecting on student achievement from last year, that our students are so much more than a number or test score, now more than ever. And, many of the lessons we learned last year can’t really be measured on a standardized assessment.” 

8 thoughts on “Test Data Show COVID-era Learning Loss in Loudoun

  • 2021-11-12 at 3:23 pm

    I realize LCPS is having test-score challenges. (As if the division doesn’t have enough problems.) There’s a Loudoun gadfly who pounds home that message on social media. Still, I have great confidence Dr. Ellis will help improve these test scores. I just hope people remember that most of what we learn in life takes place outside the classroom. By no means am I minimizing the importance of the basics: reading, writing & ‘rithmetic. But as the saying goes, “Teachers open the door. You must enter yourself.”

    • 2021-11-13 at 9:23 am

      Typical Democrat mindset…the results don’t matter. In real life, results do matter. And these test scores are pathetic. I am so glad we have an incoming Governor that takes education seriously and I am looking forward to substantial educational reforms in the Commonwealth over the next several years.

  • 2021-11-12 at 4:14 pm

    LCPS is rotten.
    The lunatic apologists would have you believe otherwise.

  • 2021-11-12 at 4:32 pm

    What a shame this never should have happened, the private schools were open, since LCPS administration could not figure out how to open, they should have talked to the private schools to see how they did it. At this point I have very little faith in the school board and the administration.

  • 2021-11-12 at 9:03 pm

    This is no surprise at all since many teachers were literally mailing it in last school year. It was hard to find a teacher who actually cared about the kids learning anything.

  • 2021-11-13 at 2:15 pm

    These assistant supers, and directors all received fat stacks of bonus money last year, while teachers got childish “challenge coins.”

    Why do we tolerate this level of incompetence?

  • 2021-11-14 at 11:00 am

    School system failure from the Chair Sheridan and the rest of the overpaid admin including LCPS Chief Financial Officer Sharon Willoughby who told board members that the school district “had a net loss in our revenue compared to our budget” for fiscal year 2022. The total revenue deficit amounted to $17 million. You’re fired!

  • 2021-11-15 at 2:35 pm

    Excuses and pack of liars: “maintained its status as a high-performing school division.” Really? Compared to who? My former state, teach-nothing school district? Nauseating moronic statements again! YES, NUMBERS DO MATTER! Or should we reduce Tyler’s ‘standardized’ pay scale to 45% percentile, since he is “so much more than a number” and school results!

    Tyler, recite to yourself this gobbledygook: ‘Yes, I and administrators are so much less than a salary number — NOW MORE THAN EVER! And, many of the lessons I and they HAVEN’T learned last year can’t really be measured on OUR bountiful standardized pay assessment!’

    Asian countries are scoring at 90-100% with students doing massive afterschool tutoring, or those students can’t get into their limited public universities – which is as prestigious as Ivy League schools.

    Tens of thousands of parents, please drop your kids out of this lunatic LCPS loop, and do co-ops and homeschooling. Watch them excel in reading and arithmetic at 10% of LCPS per-student cost. AND POLITELY PETITION GOVERNOR YOUNGKIN TO PASS A LAW, SUCH THAT IF YOU OPT-OUT OF LCPS, 65-70% OF YOUR PROPERTY TAX, PROPORTIONATE TO AMOUNT SPENT ON LCPS, WILL BE RETURNED TO YOU.

    Corollary request: also urge him to make sure that the amounts comes out of the LCPS school budget!!

    Tajmahalic new, fancy school buildings ( monuments to themselves[!] ) don’t make a scholar – skillful, steady teaching and difficult curriculums do.

    Unforgiveable and lackluster school system with a swollen 1.5B budget—stealing our money and robbing our kids of their future. ☹

    THOU SHALL NOT STEAL. (8th commandment from God’s Holy Law Book)

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