Tutoring center sees larger student deficiencies after pandemic

Published: Oct. 4, 2022 at 6:39 PM CDT
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - Millions of students across the United States struggle with math and reading skills every year. But, the Sylvan Learning Center in Hiawatha said it’s recently noticed students coming for tutoring services have greater learning deficiencies.

Nationally, data from the Department of Education shows students reading scores dropped 5 points from 2022 to 2020, the largest decrease since 1990. The data also shows Math scores decreased as well for the first time ever.

Chris Honeck, who is center director for the Sylvan Learning Center in Hiawatha, specifically emphasized a decrease in reading skills for students around the third grade. He said those skills are important because they can have effects when a student gets older.

“I hate to use the term piling on, but that’s really what happens,” Honeck said. “If a kid is three to six months or a year behind in third or fourth grade, there’s time to address that. But, when you are a year behind or two years behind in High School, now we have different issues.”

Nina Lorimor-Easley, who researches reading and literacy instruction at the University of Iowa’s Reading Research Center, said she believes the issues stem from online learning. She said teachers could teach more efficiently because they had more control over the teaching environment in person, like limiting distractions and reading a student’s body language.

Lorimor-Easley said individual teachers will likely have to evaluate their classes and individual student needs, including possibly reteaching material in past grades.