“The scores from the first U.S. standardized tests taken during the pandemic are offering an early glimpse of just how far students have fallen behind, with some states reporting that the turbulent year has reversed years of academic progress.”
This comes from a recent report published by the Associated Press detailing the impacts this last year has had on education. The reality is likely to be even more urgent, as this data was created using standardized test scores that left out many students who were either still learning from home or attending districts that did not participate. Although grim, these findings are not unexpected, as education leaders across the nation have been scrambling to prepare for the task ahead.
To help with this process, Learning Ovations has thoroughly considered the worries emerging from the data collected over the past year as well as the many solutions proposed to alleviate these concerns. Keeping with our tradition of doing the busy work so you don’t have to, we’ve created our 3 step plan to help close the gap of unfinished learning and undo the impact of COVID slide.
Expect the worst, plan for the best
Pressure has been mounting for teachers as expectations continue to be placed on them to close the learning gaps created by last year's virtual confusion. Yet, it is exceedingly important that, going into this next year of education, teachers take a breath, reflect, and pace both themselves and their students. Rushing these things isn’t good for anybody, and if we want to build back education to be stronger than before it is necessary that we take the time to do it right.
In order to start on the right track, teachers should enter the classroom expecting students to be behind where they finished spring 2020 in terms of academic progress. This is more than ok, it’s expected. Teachers recognizing this and providing education that matches where their students are at will be crucial in turning it around.
As the AP report reveals, many states are confronting the lowest reading levels they’ve faced in years, with Texas seeing “the lowest levels since 2017.” This kind of setback won’t change overnight, so plan for the future and aim to achieve reading levels even higher than before, just not right away.
Identify where every student is at
Now, more than ever, we absolutely must assess where each student’s starting point is and tailor not only our approach to instruction, but also the amount and type of instruction they receive. This is why Learning Ovations is collaborating with schools and communities to create a better system of tracking where students are at and administering the differentiated support that fits best.
Under normal circumstances differentiation has already proven to be a powerful tool in accelerating both academic outcomes and the closing of the gap between these same outcomes. This year we’re faced with a new and daunting third gap, which is the learning loss created between the end of in-person instruction over a year ago and where we are now. Closing ALL existing gaps will require that the education each child receives is perfectly suited to exactly what they need, when they need it.
Track progress & be patient
Building back student reading levels to where they were and eventually surpassing to where they’ve never been won’t be simple or swift. This kind of growth takes time, and like all things, building a strong foundation at the roots will increase the possibility of flowering to new heights.
The good news! As we’ve seen, before, during and after Covid virtual learning, when hitting the “minutes and match” the right instruction for the right amount of time for each child, you will be AMAZED at the progress they can achieve with your guidance!
Along this process, regular progress monitoring will be the key to not only measuring the growth, but also making sure that you’re taking the right steps. If everything is in place the data will clearly show this, and more importantly will illuminate where to go next.
When it comes to lighting the way, no beacon shines brighter than the one that combines all 3 steps into one clear path designed to be easy to follow. A2i is rigorously designed and tested to match every student's needs, regardless of where they start or end up along the way. A2i combines frequent assessment, growth tracking, meticulously implemented differentiation, insightful progress monitoring and data-reflection to guarantee outcomes well beyond the expectations.
How’s that sound for a brighter future?