With reading and math scores plummeting during the pandemic, educators and parents are now turning their attention to how kids can catch up. In the following Q&A, Susanna Loeb, an education economist at Brown University, shines a light on the best ways to use tutoring to help students get back on track.
- | The Conversation
- | Results for America
As students return to school for the first time in three years without most COVID precautions in place, the impact of the pandemic lingers on in our nation’s classrooms. Educators, who work tirelessly to ensure students are cared for and academically challenged, face ongoing, unprecedented challenges as they seek to accelerate learning.
Recent data shows significant (and expected) declines in students’ academic proficiency as a result of missed instruction.¹ However, thanks to a historic federal investment in education, schools have an opportunity to drive bold improvement efforts. Guided by a belief that this funding has the potential to dramatically improve learning experiences, the Rennie Center and EdResearch partnered with five Massachusetts districts to improve alignment of their existing programs and investments with evidence-based strategies.
- | EdResearch for Recovery
At EdResearch, our goal is to provide educators with the specific, practical advice – grounded in evidence – that they need to best support their students. We choose the topics of our briefs based on what educators tell us they need most, whether it’s guidance on High-Dosage Tutoring, Summer Learning or K-4 Literacy. We seek out the expertise of researchers to inform evidence-based practice in schools, and the wisdom of educators to build practice-based evidence.
- | Providence Journal
State takeovers don’t work.
Researchers at Brown University’s Annenberg Institute examined takeovers starting in the late 1980s using 5 sources of data, including the NAEPs. Their conclusion: “Overall, we find no evidence that state takeover improves academic achievement.”
Still, school/district takeovers have become more frequent, including the recent near-takeover of Boston’s schools resulting from a highly critical review. In 2019 Rhode Island’s Department of Education (RIDE) took control of the Providence Public School District (PPSD) after our even more painful Johns Hopkins report.
- | Yahoo News
Pearl's data, research and analysis partners include the Annenberg Institute at Brown University with a mission to equalize and improve educational opportunities through actionable knowledge, human development and broad engagement and its National Student Support Accelerator (NSSA). Both organizations consulted with ISU and ITI in the planning and development, and establishing success metrics for the statewide tutoring program.
- | The New York Times
In addition to the obvious educational and developmental harms, school closures could cost this generation of students $17 trillion in lifetime earnings, a December report from the World Bank, UNESCO and UNICEF estimated. “Student test scores, even starting in first, second and third grade, are really quite predictive of their success later in school, and their educational trajectories overall,” Susanna Loeb, the director of the Annenberg Institute at Brown University, which focuses on education inequality, told The Times. “The biggest reason to be concerned is the lower achievement of the lower-achieving kids,” she added, as those students may be less likely to graduate from high school or attend college.
- | News from Brown
Representing a wide variety of disciplines and backgrounds, the scholars join the Brown community this year to guide student-centered learning and engage in high-impact research.
As the 2022-23 academic year begins at Brown and more than 3,203 new undergraduate, graduate and medical students arrive on College Hill, the University also welcomes a group of 62 dynamic new scholars and educators to the Brown faculty.
With research and teaching expertise on topics ranging from global health security to climate change, brain science to diaspora studies, and architecture to algorithms, Brown’s newest faculty members represent a wide range of fields, backgrounds and viewpoints. Welcoming faculty with such diversity of experience comes at a time when Brown is developing an operational plan for significantly growing its research enterprise.
- | The Research Partnership for Professional LearningThe Research Partnership for Professional Learning (RPPL) has named Dr. Stacey Alicea as its first Executive Director. Her hiring marks a milestone for RPPL, which in just two years has grown from an idea among colleagues to a pioneering network of researchers and professional learning providers dedicated to advancing our understanding of what works when it comes to teacher professional learning.
- | Education Week
Teacher professional development absorbs billions of dollars each year and lots of teacher time, yet there’s hardly any evidence that teacher training actually improves teaching. A massive 2014 meta-analysis by the federal Institute of Education Sciences, for instance, evaluated 643 studies of PD in K-12 math instruction and found just two that met the evidentiary bar set by the What Works Clearinghouse and had positive results. Linda Darling-Hammond, a former president of the American Education Research Association, has frankly noted that the “training [educators] receive is episodic, myopic, and often meaningless.” Well, Brown University’s John Papay and Nathaniel Schwartz and Harvard’s Heather Hill—all scholars at the Annenberg Institute—think folks like me are unduly pessimistic on this score. They’ve dug into PD to see what’s working and what we can do better (see their brief here). I thought it worth sharing their take.
We’ve created this annual report to give you a taste of the work that we have going on at the Institute. We welcome you to read on to learn more about how we are pursuing equitable, transformative education for just and flourishing societies, and then to join us in our work going forward.
We look forward to the coming academic year and to work with you and others to reach these important goals.
- | News from Brown
Through a competitive submission process, Brown Vice President for Research Jill Pipher and a committee of faculty reviewers selected nine of 21 research proposals for awards ranging from $47,776 to $100,000.
“The selected projects identify pandemic challenges needing solutions,” Pipher said. “They look at its wide-ranging impact to our society, and we believe the projects will advance the national conversation about managing a pandemic in this country. I look forward to the knowledge gained and solutions developed as a result of these investigations.”
Supporting Tutors Working with High-Need Students: The Impact of a Social-Emotional Learning Text Messaging Curriculum for Tutors. (Susanna Loeb and Carly Robinson, Annenberg Institute.)
- | The 74
Teach For America, the organization I lead, launched a tutoring initiative in fall 2020 following research that shows that high-dose, high-quality tutoring is one of the most effective ways to combat learning loss. One study that looked at the impact of having a well-trained tutor meet three times a week with a group of up to four students found it came close to providing the equivalent of nearly five months of learning. A 2021 meta-analysis from researchers at Brown University concluded tutoring has a more significant effect on student achievement than smaller class sizes, vacation or summer classes and longer school days or years.