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At Futures Academy, we are constantly researching and sharing relevant topics that affect our students and families. We also have guest bloggers sharing their research and best practices. Read our blogs to learn more! 

Prevent Learning Loss During The Pandemic

Nov 25, 2020

The pandemic has forced schools to close their physical doors and move to an online learning environment. This happened virtually overnight, and many schools were at a loss on how to make this work.

Going virtual caused many issues for districts that did not have easy access to technology for all students to access virtual learning. With that, not all students have stable internet access or a parent who can stay home to monitor their learning. 

All of these factors combined have led to a myriad of learning loss issues across the country.

COVID-19 Slide

According to the Northwest Evaluation Association (NWEA), three things are consistently true about academic losses when school is not in session:

  • Over the summer, achievement declines or slows
  • Math has steeper declines than reading
  • The higher the grade, the steeper the loss of knowledge

While school was technically in session during the spring, students were not receiving instruction at the same level they would have been if they were physically in school. Many of these typical issues we see during the summer slide will exist after the spring.

Technology

Students also faced barriers in technology, as they were being forced to use programs and tech they were not used to. It becomes challenging for students to learn when they are not used to typing or using a video chat system.

Teachers were forced to spend a good chunk of their instruction time teaching kids how to use the technology, so they could even access the lessons. This then took away lesson time, which means teachers could not get through nearly as much content.

Equity

Not everyone has equal access to learning, and that became increasingly apparent during the pandemic. Schools were forced to quickly develop ways to put devices in their students' hands, so they had a way to access their lessons and teachers.

However, some students are still out of luck even with a device because they do not have access to Wi-Fi at home. Many local places where you could ordinarily get Wi-Fi, like the library, were closed down.

There were also students whose parents had to work during the day, and you've got a bunch of kids who have no one checking in on them to make sure they are getting what they need.

The New York Times cites an article from Brown and Harvard that determined the following about the use of the online math program Zearn through late April:

  • Student progress in math decreased by around half in low-income areas
  • Student progress in math fell by around one-third in middle-income areas
  • Student progress in math did not decrease at all in high-income areas

Potential Outcomes

According to The New York Times, "Racial and socioeconomic achievement gaps will most likely widen because of disparities in access to computers, home internet connections and direct instruction from teachers."

The Times also suggests that if learning continues this way in the fall, we could see:

  • An increase in high school dropouts. 
  • A potential for losing as much as a third of expected progress in reading 
  • Potential for losing half of anticipated progress in math

What Can You Do?

At Futures Academy, we can help your child make up their learning gaps and continue to be successful in school. We offer 100% live one-to-one instruction for middle and high schoolers. We even provide an option to 'try us out' for a limited time. 

It is called Virtual School Day, and you can check out more information here. You will be able to try out a one-to-one class, a group elective, and a guided study.

Contact us today for more information!