‘COVID slide’: Academia adjusts to student-achievement decline

In educational circles, it’s called “COVID slide,” and it refers students whose academics took a turn for the worse during the pandemic.

Students’ grades or test scores declined due to the pandemic or the challenge of adjusting to virtual learning.

Although many schools have returned to in-person instruction, some students are still struggling.

Officials at colleges and universities such as the University of Washington branch campuses and Western Washington University in Bellingham recommend students address any shortcomings in their application.

EducationWeek recently reported that “the average high school junior who took the ACT college-entry test in spring 2021 fell from the 50th to the 46th percentile across English, reading, math, and science — compared to performance in 2020 and 2019.”

At Western Washington University in Bellingham, “Activities, challenges and experiences can tell us much more about a student’s ability to succeed in our learning environment than grades or test scores alone,” Shelli Soto, Western’s associate vice president for enrollment management, wrote in an email.

“We welcome students to share with us details about their life and experiences,” Soto said. Standardized test scores at Western are now optional.