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Mitigating Learning Loss: It’s about Time

This guest blog post was written by SETDA partner, Shannon Buerk, CEO, engage2learn, and focuses on the immediate and long-term high-value activities to address learning loss.  We can turn the current challenges into an opportunity to accelerate learning using a proven 3-step process for closing achievement gaps and supporting educators with the right systems.

Every ed leader I talk to is beyond weary with the never-ending challenges of a shifting landscape in this highly-irregular, pandemic-driven ‘20-’21 school year. The Herculean and persistent efforts of educators everywhere are so impressive, yet, despite these efforts, the data from grades, mid-year assessments, etc., is showing there is unbelievable learning loss happening across the board. 

Districts are reporting high failure rates and 30 to 75 percent learning loss, which is stacked on top of the losses from last spring where we saw the slide start, as the graph below indicates. RAND surveys, conducted by American Educator Panels (AEP) in October 2020, found “on average, teachers reported being able to contact only four out of every five students. Only 59% of teachers reported assigning letter grades during fall 2020.” The survey also stated that “principals in the highest-poverty schools reported that, on average, only 80% of their students had adequate internet access at home.” It’s clear the remote learning environment has exacerbated inequities in educational access and outcomes over the last several months as students without supervision have fallen farther behind. Furthermore, the long-term impact as a result of school closures could take years to recover from, according to a study conducted by The Center for Research on Education Outcomes (CREDO) at Stanford University. To make up for what looks to be 18 months of limited or outright lost learning time, educators have to find the most efficient and effective path to accelerating learning for every student. 

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