BALTIMORE (WJZ) — New data shows that students’ academic performances suffered this year as Maryland copes with statewide learning loss.

The information comes from the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE), which released preliminary early fall assessment and kindergarten readiness scores for the 2021-22 school year.

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The results show a downward trend in subjects like English and math, as well as scores in the kindergarten readiness assessment, which evaluates whether kids are ready to enter first grade.

Of the more than 92% of students who took the test, only 35% met or exceeded expectations in English. Only 15% met or exceeded expectations in math.

Kindergarten readiness also dipped with scores signaling that only 40% of students are ready for first grade, compared to 47% who made the cut in 2018-19.

While many factors affect a student’s learning loss, studies point to the pandemic as large part of the academic disruption.

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“This is a transformational time as we emerge from the pandemic, address disrupted education, and implement The Maryland Blueprint for Maryland’s Future,” State Superintendent of Schools Mohammed Choudhury said. “This preliminary assessment data confirms what we anticipated: learning suffered during the pandemic, and we must be innovative, collaborative and bold in our approach to accelerate student achievement and support mental, social, and emotional health.”

With more than half of all Maryland students scoring at a “non-proficient” level in English and math, the Department of Education hopes to address the learning loss by steering funding to local school systems through the American Rescue Plan Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief plan.

The plan has set aside $1.95 billion in emergency federal funds to focus on accelerating student engagement and addressing learning disruption with solutions backed by evidence.

“We are seizing this moment to ensure that every Maryland student has access to excellent educational opportunities and strong outcomes,” Choudhury said. “We will not accept a return to normal, because normal was not good enough, especially for those who have been historically underserved.”

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CBS Baltimore Staff