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Kentucky Students Felt Supported By Teachers During Pandemic, State Survey Shows

Jess Clark | WFPL

The majority of Kentucky students say their teachers were there for them during remote learning, according to survey results the state released Wednesday along with its standardized test scores—the first since the pandemic began. But the survey data also shows older students didn’t always feel good about their learning.

When Kentucky students took their standardized tests last spring, many also took a survey about their experience in nontraditional instruction, or NTI. That’s what the state calls the remote learning setup schools moved to after the coronavirus pandemic forced school buildings to close.

State officials say responses show a majority of students felt supported by their schools during NTI.

“The results from the Opportunity to Learn survey show evidence that despite the unfortunate circumstances created by COVID-19, most students viewed their virtual learning as a positive experience,” a press release from the Kentucky Department of Education reads.

92% elementary school students, 88% of middle school students, and 84% of high school students said their teachers were available when they needed help during NTI.

But even though students generally felt supported, the survey shows they felt less positive about what they learned—especially older students. While 86% of elementary school students agreed with the phrase “I feel good about what I learned during NTI,” 62% of middle school students agreed, and just 44% of high school students said they felt good about what they learned.

Kentucky Commissioner of Education Jason Glass said the data mirrors overall trends in student engagement.

“I’m thinking that it tracks closely with the levels of engagement that we see in middle school and in high school declining and should beg some serious questions for all of us about what we can do to make middle school and high school much more engaging, meaningful experiences for students,” he told reporters Tuesday.

State officials have warned against reading too much into standardized test results this year, since the pandemic meant tens of thousands of students did not participate in the tests or the survey.

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