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Virginia test scores: Achievement below pre-pandemic levels

Virginia students made one-year gains in most subjects but achievement in all areas on annual standardized testing remains below pre-pandemic levels.

RICHMOND, Va. — Virginia students made one-year gains in most subjects but achievement in all areas remains below pre-pandemic levels, the Department of Education said Thursday as it released the year's standardized test scores.

In mathematics, 66% of students across all grades passed their exams during the 2021-2022 school year, compared with 82% in the 2018-2019 school year before the pandemic.

Gaps between pre-pandemic math performance and achievement in the most recent year were wider among Black, Hispanic, and economically disadvantaged students, as well as English learners and students with disabilities than among white and Asian students, the department said.

In reading, 73% percent of students passed the Standards of Learning and other state assessments in the most recent year, compared with 78% pre-pandemic.

The department also said that its own analysis of statewide data showed a strong correlation between in-person instruction during the 2020-2021 school year and higher achievement on this school year's test scores.

For instance, it found that in school districts that offered nearly all in-person instruction in the 2020-2021 school year, 69% passed this year's mathematics exams. For districts that were mostly remote, only 39% passed the same tests.

"The bottom line is that in-person instruction matters," Superintendent of Public Instruction Jillian Balow said in a statement. "When we compare the 2021-2022 data with achievement in 2020-2021 -- when the majority of our students were learning remotely or on hybrid schedules -- we can see the difference our teachers made once they were reunited with their students in their classrooms. I want to thank all of our teachers for everything they did last year to begin what will be a multi-year recovery effort."

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