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INDIANAPOLIS — The Indiana Department of Education released the latest ILEARN results Wednesday, showing a recovery from pandemic-related learning disruptions.

More than 99% of students in grades three through eight participated in the assessment. The department said the results show that most grade levels and student populations increased their proficiency rates in English/language arts and math compared to 2021.

“Today we’re seeing the positive collective impact we can have when educators, communities and families come together to support our students’ learning,” said Dr. Katie Jenner, Indiana Secretary of Education. “Foundational learning in English/language arts and math is stabilizing or recovering for most of our students, and Indiana’s educators and students should be proud of this progress. At the same time, we must continue to aggressively pursue innovative solutions to best support all of our students, especially our students who are still overcoming the challenges posed by the pandemic, as well as students who were underperforming prior to the pandemic.” 

The department partnered with the National Center for Assessment to conduct a study analysing the results. The study focued on academic recovery from COVID-19. The department found the following areas of success in the study:

  • Students are either stabilizing or recovering in math across grade levels, with proficiency rates in math from 2021 to 2022 increasing by two to four percentage points.
  • Students in early grades are either stabilizing or recovering in English/language arts, with proficiency rates in English/language arts from 2021 to 2022 increasing by one to two percentage points.
  • Special education students are stabilizing or recovering in math with a 1.6 percentage point increase in math proficiency rates.
  • Proficiency rates in English/language arts and math are gradually increasing for Indiana’s racially and ethnically diverse students. 
    • Black students outpaced White students in English/language arts proficiency rate increases, with Black students’ English/language arts proficiency up 1.7 percentage points compared to 2021.
    • American Indian, Black, Hispanic, Multiracial and White students all gained 2.5 percentage points in math proficiency rates. 
  • Students receiving free or reduced price meals had an increase in English/language arts proficiency rates of 1.1 percentage points and an increase in math proficiency rates of 2.6 percentage points. 

The department says the study also showed the following areas that need improvement:

  • Learning outcomes are declining for Indiana’s lowest performing students. They are not demonstrating improvement, either by stabilizing or recovering.
  • Despite English learners experiencing a 2.2 percentage point increase in English/language arts proficiency rates and a 2.9 percentage point increase in math proficiency rates, their proficiency rates remain significantly below their grade level peers and their academic growth is not at the pace of other student populations. Therefore, English learner students have a lower rate of recovery in English/language arts, especially in middle grades, compared to their peers.

“We are not seeing the levels of acceleration that are really needed to recover back to pre-pandemic performance,” Charity Flores, Indiana’s chief academic officer, said at Wednesday’s State Board of Education meeting.

Flores pointed out the state has launched several initiatives aimed to help kids get caught up, including grants and STEM programs.

“At the school level, we want to see a lot of supports that go above and beyond what were offered to students even pre-pandemic,” Flores said. “So high-dosage tutoring, additional instructional support.”

Many school districts have enacted several of those kinds of measures and have plans to extend them through next school year.

“This has been an all-hands-on-deck approach,” said Troy Knoderer, chief academic officer for Lawrence Township schools.

Knoderer said his district has more than 20 retired teachers on staff to tutor students. Lawrence Township also launched a summer program that enrolled nearly 4,000 students this year, he added.

He believes those efforts are making a difference, he said, and they aren’t going away anytime soon.

“We’ve got to stay the course and stay focused for three to five years to continue to see that accelerated growth,” Knoderer said.

You can take a look at how your child’s school performed on the ILEARN by exploring the dataset below or by visiting the Indina Department of Education website.