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  • Writer's pictureJoanne Jacobs

'Covid kids' won't catch up by the end of 12th grade, unless . . .

It's a "terrible truth," writes Margaret Raymond on The 74. "Most of the programs school districts have implemented to address COVID learning loss are doomed to fail" -- and to "waste vast sums of relief funding in pursuit of an impossible goal." Tutoring? Summer school? It won't be enough.


Recent research by Stanford's Center for Research on Education Outcomes (CREDO), which she runs, analyzes students' "pace of learning" (POL) in 16 states. Low-POL students "gain less than a full day of learning" for every day of instruction, Raymond writes. They gain less from tutoring and from summer school, if they go. There are lots of them.


The average student lost 90 days of learning due to the pandemic, CREDO estimates. Less than two-thirds of students will reach average reading and math levels by the end of high school on our current course. With much more learning time, the numbers go up, but not dramatically. With five more years of schooling, which is impossible, only three-quarters hit average reading and math levels.


Raymond suggests letting students progress at their own pace rather than organizing by age and grade level. High achievers could reach the benchmarks quickly and move to advanced work, while others had more time to reach mastery. (But would they?)

She also suggests incentives to get high-impact teachers in classrooms with lower-performing students.

. . . an alternative could be to find the best educator in the state for a given subject, who would receive a substantial payment for recording an entire year’s worth of lessons. The videos and all supporting materials — lesson plans, worksheets, quizzes, etc. — would be posted online for other teachers to use.

Creating an "Instructional Commons" would offer"peer-to-peer training, the opportunity for teachers to observe high-quality instruction in depth, a ready resource for their own lesson planning and a common standard for educators and administrators to employ for professional development," Raymond writes.

If we're not willing to make "deep" changes to our K-12 public education, she concludes, the alternative is mass failure.

5 Comments


Guest
Apr 25, 2023

Not enough data here. 15% of students are special needs, and many were at school receiving instruction as normal while unclassified students were home. App 9% of students are English learners, many of whom did not have immersion during covid and weren't on grade level in their country's system before enrolling here. Progress should be compared / contrasted by degree of their needs that were addressed with the extra funding before proposing that 'fast finishers' be sent home.

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Bruce Smith
Bruce Smith
Apr 25, 2023

There is no better alternative to social promotion for this COVID generation, with each class's receiving teachers assessing students at the beginning of the academic year to find out where they really are in their development, and adjusting their lessons accordingly, being prepared to remediate essential shortcomings while writing off the nonessential as losses to the pandemic, whether they were avoidable or otherwise.

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obiwandreas
Apr 25, 2023

The primary issue I see is that the response to COVID has killed students' work ethics. They have become accustomed to putting in little to no work and being passed along anyway. The greatest lessons in the world will do precisely squat if kids don't make an effort, and that won't happen unless there are consequences for not doing so.


This means correcting that completely bassackwards premise of lower grades that "Teachers have to prove a kid shouldn't advance" to the proper "A student needs to prove that they are ready to advance." This requires intestinal fortitude amongst administrators to recognize the severity of the problem and ride it out. Such people are few and far between in those positions.

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mrmillermathteacher
mrmillermathteacher
Apr 26, 2023
Replying to

Hear hear.

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Guest
Apr 25, 2023

This has been great for local schools. Covid hit with about 8 weeks left in the school year, they were back full time in person by August with very few disruptions. Our schools have rocketed from "middle of the pack" to "actually decently highly ranked" from the simple trick of... being in school. A lot of the state's wealthier districts were more risk-adverse, and so were shut down much longer.

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