DES MOINES, Iowa — State-wide test results for Iowa have shown that students are still behind pre-pandemic levels in math. Many parents are worried about how they can help their children catch back up.
Megan Schmelzer, the founder of the Little White School House a tutoring company in Ankeny, said that part of the reason why math is so difficult for students to catch up on is due to its foundational skills.
“The thing with reading standards is it is the same skills over and over, the words on the page just get harder,” Schmelzer said. “Math, the skills are so different so if you didn’t learn how to do basic division, you’re now dividing decimals. You can’t do it without foundational math they build on top of each other, and if you’re missing any of the middle or the bottom the advanced things aren’t gonna happen.”
Schmelzer said another reason students are struggling is due to how fast the current curriculum moves. Teachers are required by the state to teach a specific curriculum for each grade level which means they can’t take time to go over previous material.
“It wasn’t like a year we missed, it was a year and a half,” Schmelzer said, “there was no pause to reteach. The kids started up where they should have been and so they missed several years of instruction, and the way our instruction is and the way our common core is, nothing is repeated.”
Schmelzer said that getting students back on track will take work outside the classroom and that parents play a big role.
“So I get asked all the time how can I help my kid?” Schmelzer said, “I may say something like read with them every night or teach them their multiplication facts. If parents really do that, that’s helping us get closer to filling up.”
Student test scores in other subjects like reading and science have caught up to pre-pandemic levels, however math is an area where students of all ages need help.