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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Academic setbacks caused largely by pandemic, governor says

Assistant Education Secretary Ángel Toledo Pérez

By The Star Staff

In response to the results of the academic aptitude tests, which show a lag in learning on the part of the island’s high school students, Gov. Pedro Pierluisi Urrutia said Wednesday that the setback is part of the fallout from the recent worldwide COVID-19 pandemic.

“What is happening in Puerto Rico, is happening worldwide. It is a product, to some extent, of the pandemic,” the governor said in response to questions from reporters. “That is, for a long time, there was no face-to-face education and that had its effects. And when we had remote education, not everyone benefited.”

Pierluisi said the island Department of Education regularly conducts tests to measure improvement in students. In addition, the lag in academic achievement is also addressed in extended school hours.

“The deficiency we are seeing in reading, writing and comprehension also came to light,” the governor said. “And in the department an initiative called ‘To Read’ was announced, which specifically seeks to improve those reading and comprehension skills, because that is the basis of education for all, no matter what else we do.”

Associate Education Secretary Ángel Toledo Pérez acknowledged the lag in reading, writing and comprehension in Spanish and mathematics at all levels. Not so in English, he said.

“The results we see in the press today coincide with what we see in the META tests [Measurement and Evaluation Tests for Educational Transformation], and we are working on it,” he said. “However, we must point out that in English, our students are not showing a lag equal to the one they show in Spanish and the one they show in mathematics. Which implies that we have to reinforce those skills in Spanish, because clearly our students are leaning toward English.”

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