New Virginia data shows less than half of kindergarteners met benchmarks for school readiness after 2020-21 school year

Education

PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — Virginia’s kindergarteners lost academic and social skills during the last school year. That’s according to statewide data from the Virginia Kindergarten Readiness Program (VKRP).

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It shows less than half of kindergarten students statewide met the benchmarks for school readiness in important areas such as literacy, math, behavioral and social skills.

“We knew this historic event was going to have an impact in kids in schools,” said Charles Pyle, VDOE Director of Communications.

Through Freedom of Information requests via school districts in the seven cities, we learned what results from the VKRP looked like for local kindergarteners during the 2020-2021 school year.

Virginia Beach:

Percentage of tested kindergarteners meeting benchmark on all domains: 58.2%

Percentage of tested kindergarteners below benchmark on at least one domain: 41.8%

  • Math: 76.5 % at/above benchmark, 23.5% below benchmark
  • Child behavior rating scale (CBRS): 78.1% at/above benchmark, 23.5% below benchmark
  • CBRS social skills: 82.1% at/above benchmark, 17.9% below benchmark
  • Literacy: 79.2% at/above benchmark, 20.8 % below benchmark

Hampton:

  • Math: 1,237 out of 1,270 kindergarten students were tested. 38% fell below the benchmark
  • Literacy: 1,239 of our 1,270 kindergarten students were tested. 37% fell below the benchmark
  • Self-regulation: 1,182 out of 1,270 kindergarten students were tested. 25.7% fell below the benchmark
  • Social skills: 1,182 out of 1,270 kindergarten students were tested. 28.3% fell below the benchmark

A Hampton Public Schools spokesperson tells 10 On Your Side they’re particularly focused on strengthening reading and math skills by modifying their instruction. 

Norfolk

  • Math – 49.3% met, 50.7% did not meet
  • Self-regulation – 67% met, 33% did not meet
  • Social skills – 77% met, 23% did not meet

Chesapeake:

  • 2,449 kindergarten students took the VKRP assessment in the spring of  2020-2021. Of those, 1,059 students needed to build skills in one or more areas.     
  • Social Skills: 430     
  • Self-Regulation: 658     
  • Math: 251     
  • Literacy: 226

Suffolk:

  • Literacy is from PALs reports.
    • 872 kindergarteners tested-46% remote and in-person administration scored below summed score benchmark
  •      Math VKRP
    • 37% met the benchmark and 63% were below the benchmark. (English in person assessment data only; not remote assessment)
  • Self-regulation: 100% completion
    • 78% met benchmark, 22% below benchmark
  • Social skills: 100% completion
    • 76% met benchmark, 24% below benchmark

Newport News:

WAVY is still waiting on results from this district

“We do have support instructions in place for early literacy for our youngest learners and looking at the different diagnostic tools that teachers are utilizing to kind of figure out where students have some missed skills or maybe didn’t get them to the benchmark level, we’d like them to be,” Jill Nogueras, VDOE K-12 English Coordinator.

“The impact of the pandemic is clear, and our focus is on helping our school divisions, help our teachers help our students recover,” Pyle said.

Three COVID relief bills passed by congress offered billions of dollars to fund that recovery. 

“This federal funding has been used for personal protective gear, for configuring classrooms to mitigate the spread of the virus. It’s also been used for additional instruction opportunities during the school day, focused on students where the data indicated they are further behind,” he said.

‘School divisions are receiving a total of $3.6 billion in federal support for recovery and reopening under three federal pandemic relief acts: the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act, the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2020, and the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021,” Nogueras said. “The direct allocations to school divisions are from the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) fund.”

Below is a breakdown of the amounts of money local districts from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (ESSER I) and the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (ESSER II.) This information was provided to WAVY by VDOE.

  • Hampton: $24,400,757.11
  • Newport News: $36,575,089.77
  • Norfolk: $50,449,126.91
  • Portsmouth: $20,797,553.72
  • Suffolk: $12,180,448.36
  • Chesapeake: $22,751,987.64
  • Virginia Beach: $36,709,197.65

Below are the latest division allocations under the American Rescue Plan Act (ESSER III) provided by VDOE.

  • Hampton: $54,800,634.28
  • Newport News: $82,142,456.03
  • Norfolk: $113,301,572.62
  • Portsmouth: $46,708,351.30
  • Suffolk: $27,355,556.75
  • Chesapeake: $51,097,732.26
  • Virginia Beach: $82,443,643.30

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