COVID-19 brought about a lot of changes to the education world. For students and parents alike, navigating school has become a tedious task. One week, students were allowed back in schools (most only offered a few days per week of in-person instruction), and the next week, students were back in virtual classrooms.
Some students excelled, while most found it very difficult to maintain a high level of performance.
What COVID-19 Learning Loss Looks Like
Reading and mathematics are two benchmarks for student success. In terms of reading, for grades 3 to 8, performance has remained the same between 2019 and 2020. Reading loss did not seem to occur during this timeframe, aside from the typical setback in summer.
Mathematics is where students suffered most, with forecast trajectories showing a decline in math proficiency from 2019 to 2020. Math achievement dropped 5 to 10 percentile points during the pandemic compared to the same time period a year prior.
Learning did not stagnate to a 100% stoppage. Students are still learning during the pandemic, but they are not keeping pace with the learning increases we’ve witnessed in the past.
Out of the students that were observed in the study, there were the following observations between the 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 school years:
- Near 70% gains in reading
- 50% or fewer gains in math
Lower grades are a significant concern, with the possibility that these students may be an entire year behind. One primary concern among educators is variability. The difference from one student to another may make it difficult to assess where students are in their current learning trajectory.
136 to 232 Days of Lost Learning in Math
Students may be behind more in mathematics than parents and educators realize. The Center for Research on Education Outcomes at Stanford University (CREDO), a part of Stanford University, released a report that estimates math losses between 136 and 232 days for students in 19 states.
Aptly named “COVID Slide,” CREDO examined the typical erosion of learning from one year to the next.
In the current year, the following occurs:
- 57 to 183 days of reading loss
- 136 to 232 days of math loss
The researchers state that it will take an extended, broad approach to adequately address the deficits. There are concerns that a ripple effect will occur that will impact students for years to come.
What CREDO suggests is that educators and policymakers should find ways to use diagnostic and progress assessments in an effort to help students move forward. There may need to be a recovery period, and addressing this additional learning gap is of the utmost importance.
3 Million Students Missing School
Online classes have exposed a major flaw in the public health system, which failed to realize the massive lack of infrastructure, especially in rural areas. Three main points of concern are:
- Home stability
- Access to a computer
- Access to high-speed Internet
Sadly, 3 million students are estimated to be missing since COVID. A prime example is Los Angeles, where 15% to 20% of English learners, homeless students, students with disabilities, and students in foster care did not have access to online educational materials last year.
In Washington, DC, 60% of students lacked the necessary devices to do their coursework, while more than 25% lacked high-speed Internet access.
COVID impacted students across the country, and while some had a difficult time adjusting to their new schedules, others didn’t have the resources at their disposal to go to class. Even students with computers may not have had webcams or a strong enough connection to go on Zoom or another video conferencing platform without disconnects and other issues.
One analysis found that as many as 16.9 million children didn’t have Internet access, and another 7.3 million didn’t have access to a computer.
Digital Accommodations for the Disabled
Students with disabilities often need extra attention in class or educational accommodations that can help them overcome their learning disabilities. The issue many students in this demographic faced was that they had no means to the legally entitled help they deserve.
For many in this category they were not able to learn in an accessible way.
Support and Work
Another somewhat surprising trend is that many teenagers are starting to work, whether informal or formal. The additional work is interfering with their studies, while others have to provide support in other ways.
Reports of older children trying to watch younger children have risen.
While these students take on the burden of caretaker, their parents are staying at work to be able to provide for their families.
It’s imperative that schools go back in session or there be a systemic shift in the online learning environment that can help the students falling behind. Teachers are also untrained in helping students in an online learning environment, leading to greater difficulty.
30%+ of Public Teachers Have No Formal Training
Public school teachers have not received the training necessary to help students in an online environment. These teachers, over 30%, do not have the skills necessary to meet the demands and differences that an online environment offers.
Proper training can help, with 67% of teachers stating that they received training in the last 12 months on using computers for instruction.
Out of those that received training, only 3.1% said that their training was not useful, while the following responses were given for the remaining amount:
- 29.3% said their training was somewhat useful.
- 42.1% said their training was valuable.
- 25.5% said their training was instrumental.
Students have faced significant changes to the way that they learn in the past year. Distractions are an issue along with poor time management, technical issues, a lack of a steady connection, or, in some cases, a complete lack of an Internet connection.
Properly trained teachers that know how to navigate the online learning environment is a step in the right direction.
Additional resources being spent on ensuring students have access to high-speed Internet access, a curriculum built on online learning, and proper academic assessments will be needed to make sure students do not fall behind.
Excel High School was built from the ground up with online learning in mind. Our classes and curriculum are regionally accredited and nationally recognized. Enroll today or give us a call to learn more!