The Classical Academies (TCA) has continued to partner with parents to offer exceptional learning opportunities for all students. The COVID-19 pandemic created a challenge for all schools and our credentialed teachers and administrators have worked tirelessly to support a modified academic program through a distance learning model. As such, determining student achievement has been a challenge, and the cancellation of the spring 2020 state testing made it even more difficult to measure student progress. Yet, we have been able to gather some key indicators in the data we do collect to reflect on how this pandemic has impacted our students academically organization-wide. Where some schools, districts, and counties are lamenting distance learning in all aspects, The Classical Academies have offered students new content, grading, and daily connection with a credentialed teacher. We believe that this combination of factors has contributed to the current success of our students.
Chart A below represents math, reading, and language usage achievement data from all of our elementary and middle schools combined. The chart reflects the average growth for all elementary and middle school students who participated in the fall administrations of the NWEA MAP assessments from 2018 through 2020. NWEA MAP is a nationally recognized, externally produced, valid, peer-reviewed, and reliable assessment for accurate measurement of annual student progress. MAP results are reported in terms of “RIT” scores – a measurement of a student’s instructional level.
The orange bars in Chart A represent the average growth in RIT scores from fall 2018 to fall 2019. The magenta bars represent the average growth from the fall of 2019 to the fall of 2020. The green bars represent the gains from these two comparisons. These results show that the Classical Academies’ students who tested have shown a higher amount of growth from the fall of 2019 to the fall of 2020 (during Covid) compared to the amount of growth from fall 2018 to the fall of 2019 (pre-Covid). Nationwide, NWEA reports that there were no significant differences in grades 3-8 students’ pre-pandemic reading scores compared to their Fall 2020 scores. However, students in grades 3-8 scored lower nationwide in math during the pandemic when compared to pre-pandemic scores.
As you consider these results, understand that due to the pandemic, the MAP testing model for the fall of 2020 allowed for the test to be administered remotely, not under the direct supervision of a TCA teacher.
Chart B below provides information about TCA’s three high school programs. Many high schools across our state and country are measuring learning loss by comparing the number of D’s and F’s earned during this covid period to previous years. Chart B compares the percentages of fall semester D and F grades students earned from all three high schools combined over the past 4 years. This chart reflects an increase in the numbers of D’s and F’s earned this past fall semester (Fall 2020). Note: TCA has experienced an increase in enrollment this school year. The total percentages of D’s and F’s for the 2020-21 fall semester increased by a combined 2% when compared to the 2019-20 school year. Local school districts, whose data is available, have seen an increase in D’s and F’s of approximately 8% or even much higher for some.
The Classical Academies team members take pride in partnering with and supporting families. Chart C and Chart D below show the results from two questions on a parent satisfaction survey given this past fall. According to the survey, 62% of the parents that responded selected a 4 or 5 for question #6 (Chart C), indicating their children have been learning well or thriving in the current environment. Conversely, 12% selected a 1 or 2 indicating their children are not learning well in this current environment. In response to question #9 (Chart D), 86% selected 4 or 5 indicating they are pleased with the support they and their students have received from school personnel.