Covid learning gaps in math catch up to students


Ibrahim Saxe

AP calculus AB student Akshar Thakker (11) studies derivatives. “You might understand what you’re doing. But as soon as you try to explain it, the words don’t come out,” Mr. Sjol said.

Ibrahim Saxe, Staff Reporter

Covid is on the decline but its effects still remain. Students continue to struggle in classes in gaps in learning that would have been learned. This mostly affects mathematics class. During the Spring of 2020 and the 2020-2021 school year distance learning took over as lockdowns were imposed to stop the spread of Covid. Math classes are inherently made to build on itself year over year from kindergarten up. With a disruption of a year’s worth of math many students are experiencing trouble solving even review problems. The pandemic caused the first drop in the average math sources since the studies have begun according to NPR.

Such national numbers are also reflected at Ayala with students struggling to learn. 

“[When] we first came back it was a lot more difficult and I didn’t know much of what we were supposed to be learning online.” Sophomore Cristian Chirinos explained.  “It was kind of difficult to understand.” Chirinos said. 

With other states withdrawing from the Common Core system, transitioning has only added to fire as many curriculums like language and sciences don’t match up across the different states and districts. 

“Last year I went to a different school. So we had a different math class called geometry. So I missed out on IM [Integrated Math] 2,”  Sushan Donadit (10) said. 

 The lockdown did not only affect math as according to Forbes reading levels have dropped for the first time in two decades due to teachers around the nation have had issues with teaching under lockdowns and afterwards with one in five teachers experiencing long covid which affects the ability of teachers to be able to teach according to Education Week

“The calculus part of the calculus class is not the hardest part. The hardest part is getting the trigonometry doing the algebra, so, as long as I’ve been teaching this class, and she [Mrs. Rouchon]’s been teaching [Integrated] Math, three honors, we’ve been working together,” AP calculus AB teacher Mr. Sjol said. “Last year was much worse.” 

Such communication appears to be key especially considering Integrated Math three honors covers two years of material; they are Integrated three and Trigonometry Precalculus. 

Communication is key for other reasons as well. According to a Hartford Healthcare survey twenty two percent of respondents reported that they haven’t made a new friend in the last five years with many others losing touch with long time friends. “Even if you were working really hard [during the lockdown], you still didn’t get the feedback like you’re doing class normally; of looking at other people’s work. Having a teacher check and all of that, even if you’re really well motivated, you still didn’t just get as much practice.” Sjol said.

“Even though it seems like hey, everybody’s kind of forgotten. It’s light years better than it was last year.” Sjol said. There may be hope that we are getting back on the right track.