Young Ottumwa Students See Drop in Literacy Scores Between Fall 2019 and 2020

First graders' literacy scores dropped 23 points between Fall 2019 and 2020.
First graders' literacy scores dropped 23 points between Fall 2019 and 2020.(KYOU)
Published: Dec. 21, 2020 at 10:39 PM CST
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OTTUMWA, Iowa (KYOU) - 23 points was the drop Ottumwa schools saw in first graders’ Fall literacy scores.

Which meant, some kids coming back to school below the recommended level for their grade.

It’s something schools across the entire nation are seeing. The lockdown in March led to a significant drop in testing scores, especially among students just learning to read.

However, Ottumwa is using a way of teaching directly from the state. Where instead of picking up in August where students left off in March, teachers continue as normal, and address any learning dips as they go along in small groups.

Elementary virtual students are learning in that exact same way.

However, it may not be enough to get students back to where they would have been without the pandemic.

Lonna Anderson, who’s Ottumwa School’s Director of Elementary Education, says some new hygiene rules, like slowing down who goes to the bathroom or having to wash hands before lunch, or some students having trouble completing assignments virtually for one reason or another, could stop them from springing back up into place.

“We’ve got a lot of barriers or roadblocks in front of us that we’ve had to go through. But every day that they’re here we feel that we’re making a difference.”

Lonna Anderson is confident they’ll make up some of that point difference in January’s testing.

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