While reports nationwide have indicated that many students fell behind in their studies because of school disruptions caused by the pandemic, elementary students at Catholic schools in the Diocese of Allentown continued to show steady growth in reading and mathematics.
“This is fantastic news for our students and for our schools,” said Dr. Philip J. Fromuth, Superintendent of Catholic Education.
“This shows that our efforts to keep schools open for in-person learning, along with the perseverance and determination of our teachers, administrators and staff in the educational process over the last two years, provided real benefits for our students,” he said.
McKinsey and Company, a global consulting firm, reported that American school students were on average 5 months behind in mathematics and 4 months behind in reading by the end of the 2020 – 2021 school year. The study cited school closings and ineffective remote learning among the reasons for this decline.
In the Diocese of Allentown, recent standardized test scores from the Iowa Test of Basic Skills show that Catholic school students in grades 2 through 7 achieved more than a year’s growth in reading and nearly a full year’s growth in mathematics over the 2020-2021 school year.
Diocesan schools have been open for in-person learning this entire school year. Last academic year, nearly all schools were open for in-person learning all year, while some larger schools needed to move to a hybrid schedule with a mix of in-person and remote learning.
“The continued academic growth of our students during this difficult time is a testament to the value of students being present in the classroom for in-person learning,” said Dr. Fromuth.
As a result of the consistency in academic performance of Diocesan students throughout the 2020-2021 school year, Riverside Insights Assessment group selected the Diocese of Allentown to co-present alongside the Archdiocese of Atlanta at the National Catholic Educational Association conference to be held in April 2022. The session puts the Allentown Diocese in the national spotlight for their ongoing commitment to student growth and academic achievement.
There are 36 Catholic schools serving 9,000 students in the five-county Diocese. In addition to a quality academic curriculum, the schools provide service opportunities, safe and family environments, and a variety of programs that enhance the student experience.
Most importantly, Dr. Fromuth said, Diocesan Catholic schools teach Catholic beliefs and values that provide for the growth of students, both as scholars and as people of faith. “It is an atmosphere”, he said, “that creates centers of academic excellence where the Catholic faith is taught, experienced, and lived daily”.