COVID-19 greatly damaged the educational experiences of US children throught out country. Some schools stayed open, some jumped around between classroom and online education, most went in and out of classrooms as the rates of COVID transmission went up and down since March 2020.
3rd grade is no longer 3rd grade in another county or state. Individual school districts set their own schedules and patterns of using the classroom as opposed to online teaching methods.
It is no longer possible to assume that all children learned the same basic skills by the end of 3rd grade.
We are going to have to individually and independently assess where each child is in their education as the pandemic winds down. Many children are going to need to repeat at least part of the 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 school years because many schools could not even start to present all of the materials which are usually taught in the fifth grade. As anyone with school-age children knows, school districts were asked to almost immediately switch class from classrooms to the Internet without any additional resources or teachers or support personnel to help. Teachers and students were asked to do the impossible and many amazingly were able to do 50 or 70 or 90 percent of the impossible.
Unfortunately, in order to make out traditional educational system work, a fourth-grade teacher has to be able to assume that each child mastered certain materials in the third grade in order to manage a large class of fourth-graders.
Right now, the skills of our children are no longer in synchronization with the labels we use about their grade levels. Some are far behind what we would typically expect of children in their grades, some are almost at the typical level. It is likely that there are very few children who are not at least a small amount behind the traditional assumptions about what children can do at certain times during a school year.
The problems being caused by the way that schools have been opened and closed haphazardly will require some time and a lot of money to sort out.
Some of the major issues are summarized in the diagram below. Click on the image to expand it.