It’s May — almost the end of the school year. In an ordinary year, districts and schools would be in the throes of assessing for student growth, planning teacher professional development and laying the groundwork for a successful school year.
But this is no ordinary year.
Educators everywhere have had to make unprecedented shifts to teaching and learning during coronavirus school closures. Priorities have changed from helping students master things like sight words and multiplication tables to protecting the basic health and safety of staff, students and their families. As districts worked to meet a new hierarchy of needs, they had to prioritize their actions to ensure that very real and basic multidimensional needs — from healthy meals to internet and device access — were met throughout their communities.
Given the disruption COVID-19 caused to teaching and learning, schools will be finishing out the year with significant unfinished instruction and learning. Students will advance to higher grade levels next fall without ever having been taught important grade-level concepts or assessed to demonstrate proficiency of required skills.
Now that the year is ending, district leaders need to look back and reflect on what happened, how it impacted instruction and learning, and how they can prepare teachers to make up learning loss next year, keeping in mind that learning could continue remotely. Most importantly, educators need to answer this key question: “How can we understand where our students are in terms of their learning, and how we can support educators over the summer to address those unmet needs through an equitable lens?”
Develop a Data-Informed Equitable Learning Recovery Plan
Fallout from COVID-19 has exacerbated the existing disparities in our education systems, which threatens to further widen the opportunity gap. System leaders everywhere have a duty to ensure that learning outcomes for the most vulnerable students are not disproportionately affected. And to ensure that, system leaders should utilize multiple measures of data. These measures should include what Victoria L. Bernhardt calls the four major measures of data: student learning, demographics, perceptions, and school processes. Assessment and analysis of these four measures will enable educators to paint a more complete picture of what happened during these last few months and better understand students’ needs and how to address them.
We have put together a toolkit to support school districts in conducting a learning recovery assessment and gathering data to answer the following questions:
For students — What do you know about their access to and experience with high-quality, engaging and standards-aligned ELA and Math instruction since March?
For teachers — What ELA and Math materials have teachers taught since March? What did they not get to? How has the system supported their learning?
For parents — What has been their experience with this transition to remote learning?
Join our upcoming webinar, “Finishing the Unfinished: Tools to Create an Equitable Learning Recovery Plan,” Wednesday, May 13 at 12:00 PT to learn more about conducting this assessment and get actionable tools to help you develop a data-informed plan to equitably address unfinished teaching and learning.