stayed remote for longer than wealthier schools did during the pandemic, deepening divides.

The impact was especially stark for struggling students. In a survey included in the test, only half of fourth graders who were low performing in math said they had access to a computer at all times during the 2020-21 school year, compared with 80 percent of high-performing students.

Similarly, 70 percent said they had a quiet place to work at least some of the time, compared with 90 percent for high performers.

In one bright spot, most big city school districts, including New York City, Dallas and Miami-Dade, held steady in reading.

are more likely to drop out of high school, or not graduate on time. And ninth grade — where eighth graders who took the test in the spring are now — is considered a critical year for setting students up to graduate high school and attend college.

“We need to be doing something to target our resources better at those students who have been just historically underserved,” said Denise Forte, the interim chief executive at the Education Trust, which focuses on closing gaps for disadvantaged students.

Frequent small-group tutoring and doubling up on math classes are among the strategies that have shown promise.

Kevin Huffman, a former education commissioner in Tennessee who is now the chief executive of Accelerate, a nonprofit focused on tutoring, urged leaders to set aside finger pointing about what went wrong during the pandemic, and instead make a “moral commitment” to helping students recover.

“We cannot, as a country, declare that 2019 was the pinnacle of American education,” he said.


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