Archdiocese of Chicago Students Maintained Learning Progress Despite Pandemic

NBCUniversal Media, LLC

An overwhelming number of students with the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago exceeded learning goals set out by an annual assessment exam even with the COVID-19 pandemic, archdiocese officials said Monday.

Overall, the archdiocese said, students met academic expectations by staying on track.

According to a study by McKinsey and Company, schools with predominantly white students who took the i-Ready exam lost an average of one to three months of learning over the spring of 2020 closures, and schools with predominantly Black and Latino students fell further behind, losing three to five months.

The study, which was cited by the archdiocese, found that students in their sample learned only 67 percent of the math and 87 percent of the reading that grade-level peers would typically have learned by the fall of 2020.

Based on the same i-Ready platform data, 7,382 archdiocesan students, who took the i-Ready exam in the same fall-to-fall period, performed on average at 105 percent of the expected learning growth in math and at 130 percent of the expected learning growth in reading.

The positive results were particularly strong among students from higher poverty backgrounds, officials said.

At a news conference Sunday in which she defended Chicago Public Schools' plans to return to in-person instruction amid an ongoing dispute with the city's teachers union, Lightfoot pointed to the case of the archdiocese, which has been open for in-person learning since the fall.

"Our schools are safe," the mayor said. "We know that because we’ve have studied what’s happened in other school systems in our city...40,000 plus archdiocese, charter and other private schools that have some sort of in-person learning since the fall."

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