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More than 98 Percent of Public Schools Made Concerted Efforts to Promote Pandemic-Related Learning Recovery During the 2021-22 School Year

Before next school year, public schools report the need to hire three teachers, on average, with special education vacancies among the most prevalent for all school levels

WASHINGTON, Aug 4, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Public school leaders estimated that half of their students (50 percent) began the 2021-22 school year behind grade level in at least one academic subject, according to data released today by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) , the statistical center of the US Department of Education. Of schools that reported having students behind grade level in at least one academic subject, 64 percent believed that the COVID-19 pandemic played a major role in students beginning this school year behind grade level.

“Over the course of the 2021-22 school year, public schools reported a 14-point reduction in the percentage of students behind grade level in at least one subject,” said NCES Commissioner Peggy G Carr. “We will learn more about student achievement and learning experiences in schools with our next release of results from the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) later this year.”

More than 98 percent of public schools employed strategies to support pandemic-related learning recovery during the 2021-22 school year. The most common types of additional instruction enacted to support learning recovery were remedial instruction (72 percent) and high-dosage tutoring (56 percent). More than three-quarters of public K-12 schools (79 percent) used diagnostic assessments, followed by formative assessments (76 percent). Of the peripheral supports offered by schools, the most common addressed students’ mental health and trauma (72 percent).

Public schools continue to support learning recovery this summer, with 75 percent offering learning and enrichment programs run by the school or district and 70 percent offering summer school, among other traditional summer program offerings. Around one-third of public schools offering these programs reported increasing the amount of summer programming they offered specifically to support pandemic-related learning recovery.

As of June, the average public school has three teaching positions to fill for the upcoming 2022-23 school year. In elementary schools, general elementary openings are the most prevalent, with 51 percent of schools reporting a vacancy in this area. For middle and high schools, special education openings were the most prevalent, with 54 and 51 percent of schools reporting a vacancy in this area, respectively.

“In March 2022public schools identified special education as the teaching position with the most vacancies,” said Mark Schneider, HEI Director. “The data released today suggest that filling special education openings will continue to be an area of ​​concern at the start of the 2022-23 school year.”

The findings released today are part of the seventh monthly experimental data product from the School Pulse Panel. The June data were collected from 859 participating schools between June 14 and June 28, 2022.

The School Pulse Panel is part of NCES’s innovative approach to delivering timely information regarding the pandemic’s impact on public K-12 schools in the US The June survey provides data focused on learning recovery, summer learning, staff vacancies, learning modes offered by schools, and student and staff quarantine prevalence, as reported by school staff in US public schools.

Experimental data products are innovative statistical products created using new data sources or methodologies. Experimental data may not meet all NCES quality standards but are of sufficient benefit to data users in the absence of other relevant products to justify release. NCES clearly identifies experimental data products upon their release.

The August data collection will focus on a review of the hiring process that occurred this summer, after-school program offerings for the 2022-23 school year, and services provided in community school/wraparound service models.

The data released today can be found at the COVID-19 dashboard at https://ies.ed.gov/schoolsurvey/.

Key Findings

Learning Loss and Recovery Efforts

  • Public school leaders estimated that nearly half of their students (50 percent) began the 2021-22 school year behind grade level in at least one academic subject, which is 14 points higher than the percentage of students they estimated to be behind grade level in at least one academic subject at the beginning of a typical school year before the pandemic began (36 percent).
    • Of those schools that reported having students starting the 2021-22 school year behind grade level in at least one academic subject, 64 percent believed that the COVID-19 pandemic played a major role as to why students were behind grade level at the beginning of the 2021-22 school year.
  • Public school leaders estimated that just over one-third of their students (36 percent) ended the 2021-22 school year behind grade level in at least one academic subject.
  • Public schools enacted a variety of strategies to support pandemic-related learning recovery for their students this year, including additional instruction, assessments, and peripheral supports.
    • The most common types of additional instruction used by public schools were remedial instruction (72 percent) and high-dosage tutoring (56 percent).
    • More than three-quarters of public schools used diagnostic (79 percent) and formative (76 percent) assessments.
    • The most common types of peripheral supports addressed student mental health and trauma (72 percent) and provided teacher professional development specifically focused on learning recovery (51 percent).

Summer Programs

  • This summer, the most prevalent types of summer programming in public schools are learning and enrichment programs run by the school or district (75 percent) and summer school (70 percent). Additionally, public schools are offering learning and enrichment programs run by a partner organization (49 percent) and bridge programs (34 percent).
    • Of those schools offering these programs, 33 percent increased learning enrichment programs run by the school or district, 32 percent increased summer school, 28 percent increased learning and enrichment programs run by a partner organization, and 30 percent increased bridge programs they are offering this summer , compared to summers prior to the start of the pandemic, primarily to support pandemic-related learning recovery.

Staffing

  • On average, public schools reported having three teacher vacancies for the upcoming 2022-23 school year.
    • In elementary schools, the most prevalent positions that need to be filled are general elementary (51 percent) and special education teachers (44 percent).
      • For elementary schools, school leaders anticipate that special education and ESL/bilingual education teachers will be the most difficult positions to fill, with 49 percent of schools and 42 percent of schools reporting it will be ‘very difficult’ to hire fully certified teachers in these areas, respectively.
    • In middle schools, the most prevalent positions that need to be filled are special education (54 percent), English/language arts (34 percent), and math teachers (30 percent).
      • For middle schools, school leaders also anticipate that biology or life sciences and special education teachers will be the most difficult positions to fill, with 57 percent reporting it will be ‘very difficult’ to hire fully certified teachers in both areas, respectively.
    • In high schools, the most prevalent positions that need to be filled are special education (51 percent), math (37 percent), and career/technical education teachers (32 percent).
      • For high schools, school leaders anticipate that physical sciences and math teachers will be the most difficult positions to fill, with 60 percent and 58 percent reporting it will be ‘very difficult’ to hire fully certified teachers in these areas, respectively.
  • Across all school levels, the most prevalent non-teaching staff positions that need to be filled are custodial staff (32 percent), transportation staff (29 percent) and mental health professionals (19 percent).
    • In line with the prevalence of these openings, public school leaders anticipate it will be the most difficult to hire transportation staff and custodial staff, with 61 percent and 46 percent reporting it will be very difficult to hire staff in these areas, respectively.

Learning Modes, Mitigation Strategies and Quarantine Prevalence

  • At the end of the 2021-22 school year, 15 percent of public schools required students and staff to wear masks while inside the school. This is down from March 2022, when 22 percent of public schools required students and 23 percent required staff to wear masks. This is also a large decline from March 2022when 73 percent of public schools required students and 77 percent required staff to wear masks.
  • Schools continued to provide on-site COVID-19 testing for students (43 percent) and staff (51 percent) at the end of the 2021-22 school year. Sixteen percent of schools required daily symptom screening for students and 20 percent for staff at the end of the school year, compared to 22 percent of schools requiring daily symptom screening for students and 25 percent requiring daily symptom screening for staff in March 2022.
  • Thirty-four percent of public schools reported using Test to Stay (TTS) at the end of the 2021-22 school year, up from the 26 percent of public schools that reported using TTS in March 2022.
  • Comparing learning mode offerings at the end of the 2020-21 school year and the end of the 2021-22 school year:
    • In-person learning offerings were more prevalent (62 percent at the end of 2020-21 versus 98 percent at the end of 2021-22)
    • Remote learning offerings were less prevalent (40 percent at the end of 2020-21 versus 33 percent at the end of 2021-22)
    • Hybrid learning offerings were less prevalent (44 percent at the end of 2020-21 versus 10 percent at the end of 2021-22)
  • The percentage of public schools that reported having to quarantine students in June was 34 percent, a decline from the 47 percent that reporting having to quarantine students in May. Similarly, 24 percent of public schools required staff to quarantine in June, down from 35 percent in May.

The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), a principal agency of the US Federal Statistical System, is the statistical center of the US Department of Education and the primary federal entity for collecting and analyzing data related to education in the US and other nations. NCES, located within the Institute of Education Sciences (IES), fulfills a congressional mandate to collect, collate, analyze, and report complete statistics on the condition of American education; conduct and publish reports; and review and report on education activities internationally. Follow NCES on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and YouTube and subscribe to the NCES newsflash to receive email notifications when new data is released.

The Institute of Education Sciences (IES) is the independent and nonpartisan statistics, research, and evaluation arm of the US Department of Education. Its mission is to provide scientific evidence on which to ground education practice and policy and to share this information in formats that are useful and accessible to educators, parents, policymakers, researchers, and the public.

CONTACT:
Josh DelarosaNational Center for Education Statistics, [email protected]
james elias, Hager Sharp, [email protected]

SOURCE National Center for Education Statistics

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