A simple observation: In the U.S., high school graduation rates have increased while other measures of academic achievement—from college entrance exam scores to high school NAEP scores to college enrollment—have stagnated at best. Taking this observation as the foundation, a new working paper from researchers at the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Texas at San Antonio argues that this pattern suggests “a decline in academic standards,” and then builds on that foundation to examine the consequences of changes to grading standards upon student behavior, academic effort, and learning.
- | Fordham Institute
- | WPRI
Chronic absenteeism exploded during the pandemic when remote- and hybrid-learning was the norm, as both students and teachers reported difficulties with the virtual model. Parents, meanwhile, grappled with maintaining their own jobs with their children stuck at home.
And the growing trend of chronic absenteeism has been especially acute among the state’s youngest students. In the 2018-2019 school year — prior to the pandemic — about 14% of elementary school students were chronically absent, according to the Annenberg report.
- | The Hechinger Report
Ever since schools reopened and resumed in-person instruction, districts have been trying to help students catch up from pandemic learning losses. The Biden Administration has urged schools to use tutoring. Many schools have purchased an online version that gives students 24/7 access to tutors. Typically, communication is through text chat, similar to communicating with customer service on a website. Students never see their tutors or hear their voices.
- | Providence Business News
A new report recently released by Brown University’s Annenberg Institute notes that schools in Rhode Island still face numerous challenges after the COVID-19 pandemic, and the last five years have brought “tremendous upheaval” within those schools.
- | K-12 Dive
As school systems go all-in to accelerate student learning and make up for academic losses due to the COVID-19 pandemic, how administrators and educators apply these interventions matters as much as the strategies themselves.
- | Boston GlobeThe Annenberg Institute at Brown University is out with a new post-pandemic look at Rhode Island schools, and it’s worth taking the time to read the full report.
- | Fordham Institute
School report cards are out, and the results reveal the persistent challenges facing Ohio students in the aftermath of pandemic-era disruptions to education. While test scores ticked up in 2022–23 relative to last year, math scores remain substantially below pre-pandemic levels and achievement gaps remain wide. In Columbus and Dayton school districts, for example, 46 and 51 percent of students, respectively, scored “limited” on state assessments—the lowest mark—roughly double the proportion of students at this level statewide (23 percent).
- | WWLP
Research by Professor John Papay of Brown University, cited in Hills’ analysis, shows that students with higher MCAS scores go on to earn substantially more in the labor market. This is true across different racial and ethnic groups.
The Grade 10 MCAS scores can help predict earnings among similar students with the same education level and demographics, Papay found.
- | The New Yorker
And, as kids get older, there may be value in nudging parents gently to the side of the conversation. An elegant 2013 study arranged for cohorts of sixth- and ninth-grade students to receive daily notes or texts from their teacher, who also made daily phone calls to the students’ parents. The regular check-ins caused higher rates of completed, on-time homework assignments and lower rates of disruptive behavior.
- | Rhode Island Current
“I think that that report shows that, on average, the state takeover efforts aren’t so successful,” said John Papay, director of the Annenberg Institute for School Reform at Brown University. “They don’t lead to dramatic changes in student outcomes.”
- | News from Brown
At a participatory budgeting event facilitated by scholars at Brown, more than 100 local middle school students debated how the Providence Public School District should spend $100,000 in funds from the University.
Middle school can be tough: new social circles, new teachers, new hormones. Many adults look back ruefully on those years, wishing they could have improved the experience.
On Thursday, June 8, 120 eighth-grade students from Providence’s Nathanael Greene Middle School got the chance to do just that.
- | News from BrownJohn Papay, a leading scholar on educational inequality and an associate professor of education at Brown University, has been appointed the next director of Brown’s Annenberg Institute for School Reform.
Papay has served as interim director since January. In taking on the role for the longer term, he will continue to position the Annenberg Institute to serve as a hub of education scholarship that confronts some of the most pressing issues in teaching and learning, including opportunity gaps and learning loss during the COVID-19 pandemic. By creating a broader set of opportunities for engagement and learning for students, postdoctoral fellows, researchers, scholars and practitioners across campus and beyond, Papay plans to expand the institute's robust set of collaborative research projects, generating insights that can be directly applied to teaching practices and education policy.