(TheLastPatriotNews.com) – The COVID-19 pandemic-mandated lockdowns wreaked havoc on American students’ math skills as college professors say they are now worse than ever, with many incoming freshmen unable to subtract with negative numbers or add fractions.
Colleges are increasingly resorting to offering remedial courses and tutoring for incoming students in the wake of the pandemic lockdowns that left many stuck with remote teaching for months, the Associated Press reports, as cited by The College Fix.
Professors that the AP interviewed sounded the alarm as they saw freshmen unable to answer even fundamental high school math problems.
“We’re talking about college-level pre-calculus and calculus classes, and students cannot even add one-half and one-third,” commented Maria Emelianenko, chair of the George Mason University math department.
She described first-year college students’ math deficiencies as such a “huge issue” that her school started a Math Boot Camp, attended by about 100 students over the summer.
The report points out that because of pandemic lockdowns, many of today’s first-year college students were at home during tenth grade, which features geometry or algebra classes.
Even though schools kept operating through virtual classrooms, more and more studies show that online learning isn’t efficient, and many students are lagging.
Professor Jessica Babcock from Temple University in Philadelphia said she stumbled upon the issue last year in her intermediate algebra course when an introductory quiz tasked students with subtracting eight from negative six.
“I graded a whole bunch of papers in a row. No two papers had the same answer, and none of them were correct. It was a striking moment of, like, wow — this is significant and deep,” she revealed.
“It’s not just that they’re unprepared, they’re almost damaged. I hate to use that term, but they’re so behind,” commented Brian Rider, Temple’s math chair.
The report predicts that low academic performance in colleges will last years after the pandemic.
Thus, an assessment by the National Assessment of Educational Progress, a US Education Department program, registered the steepest math score decline in 30 years among fourth- and eighth-grade students between 2019 and 2022.
During that period, the eighth-graders math scores decreased nationwide, including among high- and low performers, with 40% of public school students performing below basic math.