National report shows MSCS testing scores lag behind rest of state

Published: Oct. 24, 2022 at 4:36 PM CDT

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - A new national report shows an historic decline in math and reading scores across the country, and Memphis-Shelby County Schools is among the worst.

The National Assessment of Educational Progress samples fourth and eighth graders in reading and math and shows MSCS is well below state averages for each subject.

MSCS 4th grade reading scored 197, which is 17 points below the state average. Eighth grade reading levels were a bit higher at 242, but still 16 points below state average.

District math scores were even further below average.

District 4th graders scored 216, which is 20 points below the state average. Eighth grade math scored 251, which is 21 points behind others in the state.

MSCS was the final school district in state to return to in-person learning, something interim Superintendent Dr. Angela Whitelaw believes played a part in the results.

But she’s confident the students will bounce back.

“Memphis-Shelby County students are resilient,” Whitelaw said. “With more time they will continue to regain what the pandemic robbed from them, socially, emotionally and academically.”

The chief of communications for MSCS, Cathryn Stout, says action plans were already implemented before the results from the assessment were released, and those plans are already exceeding outcomes.

“We had 10,000 students in tutoring last year,” Stout said. “We set a goal to have 12,000 by this year. We had surpassed that and we have 15,000 students in tutoring right now.”

Stout added that the district is still looking for community partners and tutors to help with these tutoring efforts.

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