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SC students 2-3 months behind in math, ELA on average due to pandemic, leaders say

Each school district is now required to submit an academic recovery plan with strategies to get students back up to speed.

COLUMBIA, S.C. — The academic success of students across the state has taken a hit as pandemic shifts make learning a challenge.

David Mathis with the S.C. Department of Education says districts have been tracking student progress with the data revealing losses that could take years to repair.

“On average student are, in ELA and math are, two to three months behind where they normally would have been,” Mathis said, “and math has taken the larger hit.”

The solution? Academic recovery plans, he said.

Each district is required to make one with interventions like summer learning programs, social-emotional support, or even extra school days up for consideration.

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Credit: Kayland Hagwood, Zoom
David Mathis, Deputy Superintendent of College and Career Readiness

“It’s a difficult lift in some ways, but it can be done with time,” Mathis said. “We need the time for those students to catch up. I think you’ll see that happen with the summer programs, the extra days that are added in, but it’s the quality of the interventions that take place. It’s what we do with those students during that time that help them to catch up.”

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Mathis said the state is offering tools to help, including a kit of digital programs, lesson plans and other resources for recovery.

While they finalize plans, he said parents can also get involved.

“If it’s something that they don’t know how to do or where to plug in, call the school. Ask the teacher how they can get involved. Ask questions about, is my child on target,” Mathis said.

The plans are due at the end of May.