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Local students struggling with math, reading

LAS VEGAS (KLAS) - Nevada students are struggling with math and reading, according to a new assessment from the Nevada Department of Education. Experts say the pandemic is partly to blame.

The 2021 Smarter Balanced Assessments examined grades three through eight. Typically, 95 percent of students must participate in the report, but that requirement was waived last school year. Only 68 percent of Nevada students participated, including just 54 percent of those in the Clark County School District.

Overall, only 41 percent of students were proficient in English and 26 percent in math. That's down from 48 and 37 percent, respectively the previous year.

Content tutor Steffanie Shapiro with Cultivate Academics said the numbers are devastating. She has noticed large gaps in learning due to pandemic-induced closures of schools statewide.

"Foundational concepts are crucial to moving on to further success," said Shapiro. "If you're not understanding the basics of something you cannot be expected to be truly successful building on top of that base in any capacity."

Within CCSD, less than 40 percent of middle and elementary students are proficient in Language Arts, and fewer than 25 percent in math.

Shapiro said one-on-one tutoring can help students get back up to speed. If a student is struggling with English, she recommends they read aloud every day. Flashcards are a simple and convenient option to help with math and other subjects.

"You can really see their confidence growing and then once they're in the classroom," said Shapiro. "They are performing typically much better than where they were at before."

The Nevada Department of Education promises to use more than $1-billion in federal funds to address the academic and emotional needs of students. A plan will be presented on this data at the end of September.