RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) – New data from the Virginia Department of Education shows Virginia students didn’t do well on Standards of Learning (SOL) tests last year.
The numbers are better than the 2020-2021 school year, but their scores are still under what they were before the COVID-19 pandemic.
State superintendent Jillian Balow said when they compare the data, better testing scores are seen when kids are in the classroom and not learning from home.
The overall pass rate for the tests is 67% for last year, more than ten points lower than it was pre-pandemic at 79.2%.
Still, scores did rebound from an average 61.3% pass rate in the 2020-2021 school year.
Balow and Richmond Public Schools superintendent Jason Kamras both said remote learning could be why scores are so low and that in-person learning does matter.
Richmond Public Schools School Board member Jonathan Young said the scores represent not the student’s failure, but that of the adults making the decisions for them.
“This is what failure looks like but to be clear this is a failure by adults, not students. This is a failure by every adult that contended that remote learning was a worthy substitute for in-person,” Young said. “This is what happens to our kids when adults fail.”
Kamras added that although low, the district’s scores significantly grew between fall and spring.
“I think we need to remember this was really a once-in-a-century experience for our kids who were out of school for a long time, and even when we were virtual, nothing replaces in-person learning,” Kamras told 8News.
Even so, the data does show that the majority of students were learning either mostly or nearly all in person during the 2020-2021 school year.
Balow is urging schools to spend federal pandemic money on things like extended learning and after-school programs to help close the gap.
Gov. Glenn Youngkin also blames remote learning for the low scores.
He said $40 million went to local school districts in last year’s budget for programs that address learning loss.
To read a detailed breakdown of the data, click BELOW: