Which Arizona schools were hit hardest by the pandemic? The answer might surprise you

Opinion: A new analysis shakes up conventional wisdom about which Arizona schools the pandemic impacted most academically.

By Joanna Allhands | Arizona Republic

The pandemic was painful for everyone. But it did not hit all high- or,k5 low-achieving schools (or groups of students within those schools) the same.

If the numbers hold, more than half of Arizona schools experienced large or severe impacts to their academic achievement in English during the pandemic.

And two-thirds of schools experienced similar impacts in math.

Let that sink in.

It means a majority of public district and charter schools – which, by extension, means most of the state’s 1.1 million students – have experienced consequential impacts to learning that we must somehow overcome.

But there’s a lot more to these numbers than that.

The impacts are deep, but not how you’d think

Data from the state Board of Education, state Department of Education and the nonprofit Center for Assessment also reveal that while the pandemic was painful for everyone, it did not hit all high- or low-achieving schools (or groups of students within those schools) the same.

That’s just the opening salvo, by the way. A far more granular look at counties, schools, grade levels and the subgroups within them should be completed by the board’s October meeting.

But the results so far suggest that a lot of different students are going to have a lot of different needs.

And a one-size-fits-all approach to meet them is not going to work.


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September 2021