Learning is Stabilizing for Many Indiana Students, But Targeted Support Still Needed
Wednesday, July 12, 2023
INDIANAPOLIS - The Indiana Department of Education (IDOE) today presented updated findings from the state’s ongoing study of COVID-19’s academic impact and subsequent student learning recovery. The results show that while learning is stabilizing or recovering for many students, targeted interventions must continue in order to accelerate academic momentum for all Hoosier students, particularly among certain grade cohorts and student populations.
“Immediately following the pandemic, we saw the greatest academic impact in math, so the fact that we have now seen gains in math for two consecutive years is positive–yet there’s no doubt we have more work to do,” said Dr. Katie Jenner, Indiana Secretary of Education. “English/language arts is an area where many students continue to need additional support, particularly our English Learner and middle school students. We knew that experts were projecting years in recovery time, and yet, the urgency is real, and requires us all to keep our foot on the gas pedal. Together, we must continue to prioritize literacy instruction, rooted in the science of reading, as well as high-quality STEM instruction for all Indiana students. It will also be essential for our local schools to continue to work with parents, families and community partners to provide strategic, targeted opportunities for students who need additional support.”
Indiana has partnered with the National Center for Assessment for the last three years to measure the academic impact of the pandemic-related learning disruptions. To inform this analysis, data points from two Indiana assessments were considered, including statewide results from the spring 2023 Indiana Learning Evaluation and Assesment Readiness Network (ILEARN) and WIDA assessments. Statewide, 40.7% of Indiana’s students are at or above proficiency standards in English/language arts (ELA), and 40.9% of students are at or above proficiency standards in math.
Key takeaways from the analysis include –
- Statewide ILEARN results reflect a modest increase in math across all grade levels.
- The highest increases were in grade four (1.3 percentage points), grade six (2.8 percentage points), and grade eight (1.6 percentage points).
- Most grade levels remained relatively stable in ELA
- Grade six (1.8 percentage point increase) and grade seven (2.9 percentage point decrease) are the exception.
- As we begin to see overall stabilization and improvement in proficiency, specific student populations are seeing improved growth.
- Black students have proficiency percentage point increases in both ELA and math following the pandemic.
- Hispanic students, students eligible for free and reduced lunch, students in special education, as well as English Learner (EL) students have proficiency percentage point increases in math specifically.
- Increased targeted support is still needed in ELA for middle school students, as well as English learners.
Indiana Student Learning Recovery (the speed of students’ academic improvement)
- Students are continuing to stabilize or accelerate/recover in math following the pandemic.
- The rate at which students are stabilizing or accelerating/recovering in ELA varies by student population.
- Students who were not proficient in ELA and math prior to the pandemic are not recovering at the same rate as their peers. Students who were proficient in ELA and math prior to the pandemic continue to stabilize and accelerate their rates of learning.
- Black students, as well as students eligible for free and reduced lunch are now stabilizing across all grade levels in both ELA and math.
- Hispanic and EL students will need continued targeted support.
ILEARN, which meets state and federal assessment requirements, assesses proficiency in content standards in English/language arts and math in grades three through eight, science in grades four and six, social studies in grade five and U.S. Government and biology in high school. ILEARN is an Indiana-specific assessment. Therefore, ILEARN results cannot be compared to results from other states. Full ILEARN results, as well as results from other assessments, are available here.
Indiana is leading a number of tactical solutions to provide ongoing support for schools, educators and students. The below represent just a few examples of this collective work.
- A historic literacy investment, focused on elevating the science of reading;
- An initiative to provide extra support to schools in literacy and science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) instruction through a focus on instructional coaching for educators;
- Streamlined and prioritized K-12 Academic Standards in English/language arts, mathematics, social studies and science and computer science;
- A new opportunity that provides additional learning support for students, regardless of their parents’ ability to pay.
- Up to $185 million in state-funded grants to help schools and community partners support accelerated learning for students through summer and before-, after- school programming;
- The Indiana Graduates Prepared to Succeed performance dashboard;
- The Indiana Learning Lab to provide educators and families with expanded online resources, including in literacy, STEM and English learner instruction;
- A first-of-its-kind partnership with Get Your Teach On, providing educators with interactive professional development and support to educators; and,
- A partnership with Schoolhouse.world to remove financial barriers to tutoring opportunities.
IDOE continues to analyze statewide outcomes data from these initiatives with the goal of elevating opportunities that are making an impact for students and investing in their expansion.