The pandemic over the past couple of years has taken its toll in scholastic work, and a new study says that rural schools were hit hardest.

According to public data, rural Kansas school districts – as compared to all Kansas school districts – experienced the greatest declines in early reading levels between 2019 and 2021.

The nonprofit “Reading Roadmap” analyzed Kansas State Department of Education English Language Arts 3rd grade reading data from 2019 and 2021.

The data shows that rural Kansas districts experienced the biggest literacy learning losses between those two testing periods.

The state reading assessment scores results from Level 1 – the lowest score – through Level 4.

While rural schools only make up 48% of all districts, those districts made up two-thirds of all the districts that saw an increase of 10 points or more in Level 1 readers.

Rural districts made up 82% of the districts experiencing an increase of 20 points or more.