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Lessons with Alexandra Usher & Dr. Alexander Seeskin

This episode features a conversation with Alex Usher and Alex Seeskin from the University of Chicago. Alex Usher is Associate Director for Data Research at the University of Chicago’s To&Through Project and Senior Research Analyst for the UChicago Consortium on School Research. Alex Seeskin is Director of The To&Through Project, which is housed at the UChicago Urban Education Institute.

Student achievement has plummeted since COVID-19

Data released this week by the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) demonstrated the devastating effect of the pandemic on the recent academic gains made by Chicago students.

In math, 41% of fourth graders were “below basic” — which NAEP defines as students not demonstrating the prerequisite fundamental skills they would need to be proficient in a subject — with roughly another 20% recognized as “proficient.” Also in math, 51% of eighth graders were considered below basic, with 16% achieving proficiency...

Elementary On-Track

Key Findings

  • Students in grades 3-8 in the On-Track category graduated high school at more than twice the rate of students in the Intensive Support category (93 percent vs. 39 percent) and enrolled in college at more than four times the rate of students in the Intensive Support category (72 percent vs. 16 percent).
  • Students in the Academic Support category, who came to school regularly yet were still not earning a 3.0 GPA, made up nearly 40 percent of students in the 2018–19 school year.

Tara Vahdani

Tara Vahdani is a Research Assistant at the UChicago Consortium and a graduate student at the Crown Family School of Social Work, Policy, and Practice. An aspiring school social worker, she is especially interested in exploring the promise of schools in addressing the non-academic needs of students. Working closely with the Consortium’s Director of Partnerships and Engagement, Tara helps identify and develop opportunities for stakeholder engagement.

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