Test Scores Drop Dramatically for Black, Hispanic and Poor Children Due to COVID-19; Nasdaq Moves to Require Diversity for Listed Companies; and More

Math and reading test scores have dropped dramatically for Black, Hispanic and poor children due to COVID-19, new study warns.

Results of lockdowns, home-schooling, and Zoom classrooms as a result of COVID-19 are starting to come in, and the numbers aren’t good. According to a review of more than 4 million test scores of children in grades three through eight, the pandemic is definitely having a negative impact on learning. The research-based nonprofit group NWEA (formerly the Northwest Evaluation Association) analyzed the results of a series of standardized tests which were administered this fall and found that scores for students had dropped significantly across the board, especially in math where students scored an average of five to 10 percentile points behind students taking the same test last year. While reading scores did remain fairly consistent for white students compared to non-pandemic years, there was also a decline in reading retention and comprehension among Black and Hispanic students and those who attend high-poverty schools. 

“Those groups of students saw slight declines, suggesting the pandemic has exacerbated long-standing educational disparities, possibly setting children who were already behind their white and more affluent peers even further behind,” said Erin Einhorn of NBC News.

“It’s a reason for concern and it’s a reason to really focus our attention on helping catch kids up,” said Megan Kuhfeld, an NWEA senior research scientist and the lead author of the study. While the numbers are alarming on their own, Kuhfeld and her team fear the results could be even more dire. Nearly 25% of students who would normally take the NWEA’s widely-used MAP assessment each fall weren’t able to complete the tests this year, suggesting the loss in learning could be even worse than what the group has calculated.


Nasdaq commits to increasing board member diversity within companies listed on its exchange.

Stock Market giant Nasdaq has unveiled a new proposal designed to increase diversity within the more than 3,000 companies listed on the U.S. stock exchange. The Associated Press reported that Nasdaq filed a proposal with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on Tuesday, Dec. 1, asking the regulatory body to consider new listing rules concerning the makeup of companies’ board of directors, and requiring the majority of companies to retain at least two diverse board directors: one woman, and one person who identifies as either an underrepresented minority or LGBTQ. If a company cannot meet these requirements, it will need to explain why. Currently, more than 75% of companies listed on the exchange do not meet these criteria. If approved by the SEC, most companies would need to fill the diverse board positions within the next two years. 

“Our goal with this proposal is to provide a transparent framework for Nasdaq-listed companies to present their board composition and diversity philosophy effectively to all stakeholders,” said Nasdaq President and CEO Adena Friedman in a statement. “We believe this listing rule is one step in a broader journey to achieve inclusive representation across corporate America.”


Oscar-nominated Juno star Elliot Page announces he is transgender.

Actor Elliot Page, who starred in the 2007 Oscar-winning film Juno (and also earned an Oscar nomination for the role) announced he is transgender on Tuesday, Dec. 1. Page shared in a social media post that he now uses both he and they pronouns. He also said that while he is proud to be celebrating his identity, he is also still cognizant of the numerous injustices and violence transgender people face on a daily basis and hopes to continue to bring awareness to the issue. Following the announcement, Variety reported that Page will also continue playing his role as “Vanya Hargreeves,” a cisgender woman, in The Umbrella Academy. The Netflix series about a family of superheroes, which has been renewed for a third season, has become one of the streaming service’s biggest hits.



D.I. Fast Facts


Percentage of shelf space Macy’s has promised to dedicate toward Black-owned brands in the future. The pledge is part of a growing grassroots movement designed to increase representation of Black-owned brands in stores across the country. West Elm and Sephora have also made similar pledges, as has fashion magazine InStyle, which committed to dedicating 15% of its editorial coverage to Black-owned brands, in addition to increasing diversity in the models and celebrities featured in its pages.
Bloomberg News




Number of Disneyland workers who were laid off the night before Thanksgiving by the Walt Disney Company as a result of COVID-19. Most laid-off workers will lose their jobs in the first half of the 2021 fiscal year.


Related: For more recent diversity and inclusion news, click here.


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