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Pandemic leads to learning decline in North Dakota schools

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New test data shows a decline in math and English proficiency among students during the 2020-21 school year, State School Superintendent Kirsten Baesler says.

During 2021 spring testing, the percentage of students who scored as “proficient” or “advanced” in English/Language Arts was 42 percent, a 5 percent decline from the spring of 2019.

In math, the percentage of students who scored as “proficient” or “advanced” was 38 percent, 7 percent less than the spring of 2019.

The North Dakota State Assessment is given to students in grades third through eighth and ​again in 10th grade. The assessment wasn’t given in the spring of 2020 because of the pandemic.

Baesler says the results show how the pandemic affected learning across the state.

Below is a summary of the overall results:

Subject/YearNovicePartially ProficientProficientAdvanced
English Spring 201926%26%33%14%
English Spring 202131%26%30%12%
Increase/Decrease+5%Unchanged-3%-2%
     
Math Spring 201924%32%34%11%
Math Spring 202128%34%29%9%
Increase/Decrease+4%+2%-5%-2%
Courtesy: North Dakota Department of Public Instruction

Baesler says the North Dakota Legislature set aside resources to help pandemic-related learning recovery, including increased funding for summer school, virtual instruction programs and tutoring.

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