News

  • | Usable Knowledge - Harvard University

    Summer is officially here, but with many summer camps and enrichment programs canceled due to COVID-19, parents might feel at a loss for what to do with their children. With parent stress (and patience levels) being tested, experts agree that this summer is not the time to panic about learning loss or press to make up for missed class time, but instead to focus on creating fun and meaningful moments.

    “For many families, the pandemic and school closures have been stressful. Summer is traditionally a time when many families switch gears from the busyness of the school year to focus on fun,” says Kathleen Lynch, a former teacher and current researcher at Brown University. “Rather than attempting to ‘catch up’ on academics over the summer, try building into your routine some learning activities that your child finds enjoyable.”

  • | Education Week

    During even the most normal school year, there are a lot of little interruptions to teaching and learning each day—a tardy student walking into class, an announcement over the loudspeaker, a call to the classroom phone. 

    Those interruptions can add up to the loss of between 10 and 20 days of instructional time, a new study finds. And as schools across the country prepare to welcome back students in the fall after a disrupted spring, they will need to address what is expected to be significant learning loss. Reducing external interruptions in the classroom could be one way to do that, researchers say. 

  • | GoLocalProv

    A typical classroom in Providence is interrupted over 2,000 times a year, according to a researcher at Brown University.

    Associate Professor of Education Matt Kraft says that as students return from distance learning this fall, cutting down on external interruptions -- and maximizing learning time in the classroom -- is more important than ever. 

  • | Boston Globe

    Even when Black and Latino graduates from Massachusetts public high schools have similar MCAS scores as their white peers, they are less likely to earn college degrees and make as much money, according to a report released Thursday that highlights the need to improve the state’s education system.

    Similar achievement gaps were found for high school graduates who grew up in poverty or who lacked English fluency, according the report, “Lifting All Boats? Accomplishments and Challenges from 20 Years of Education Reform in Massachusetts.”

  • | CommonWealth Magazine

    The report by researchers at Brown University, which examined 10th grade MCAS scores and later student outcomes, also found that scores are highly correlated with high school and college completion and later earnings in the labor market, but the strength of this association varied widely depending on students’ demographic background.

    “I think it’s both good news and bad news,” said John Papay, an associate professor of education and economics at Brown and the lead author of the report.  “We see that educational attainment has been increasing for all groups of students, but we see that gaps in four-year college completion are also increasing.”

  • | Brown University

    That’s according to a new report released on Thursday, June 18, by scholars at Brown and Harvard universities. The study — “Lifting All Boats? Accomplishments and Challenges from 20 Years of Education Reform in Massachusetts” — was led by John Papay, an associate professor of education at Brown, as part of a research-practice partnership between Brown’s Annenberg Institute for School Reform and the Massachusetts Departments of Elementary and Secondary Education and Higher Education.

    To examine how the 1993 Massachusetts Education Reform Act has affected outcomes for children in the state, Papay and his colleagues analyzed two decades of state testing data, college admission and graduation records, and labor market earnings. They found that the last two decades have seen college enrollment rates climb across all demographics, including for children of color and children who come from low-income households.

  • | Brown Center Chalkboard - The Brookings Institution

    So how do we rebuild the basic education infrastructure? In a recent paper that I coauthored with Susanna Loeb and Alec Kennedy, we examined one program funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009—School Improvement Grants (SIGs). Starting in 2010, Congress invested a total of approximately $7 billion in five cohorts of SIGs. These funds typically doubled the grantee schools’ regular budget and were available for schools to use for three years. Drawing on data from four locations across the nation, which represent a geographically diverse group of states and local districts, we find that SIG program had substantial success in both short- and longer-term.

  • | The New York Times

    The average student could begin the next school year having lost as much as a third of their expected progress from the previous year in reading and half of their expected progress in math, according to a working paper from NWEA, a nonprofit organization, and scholars at Brown University and the University of Virginia.

    A separate analysis from researchers at Brown and Harvard looked at how Zearn, an online math program, was used by 800,000 students both before and after schools closed in March. It found that through late April, student progress in math decreased by about half in classrooms located in low-income ZIP codes, by a third in classrooms in middle-income ZIP codes and not at all in classrooms in high-income ZIP codes.

  • | Reuters
    Susanna Loeb, a professor of education at Brown University, said she believes most of the 469,000 laid off in April were non-teacher personnel, as districts tend to fire teachers last. But anecdotal evidence from interviews and press reports suggests that the toll includes significant numbers of teachers.
  • | Education Week

    Just about everybody agrees that the school closures resulting from COVID-19 will lead to some student “learning loss” and that the loss will affect students differently depending on their social advantages, the effectiveness of their schools, and their degree of trauma.

    Researchers have tried to predict the magnitude of pandemic-related learning loss by making comparisons with what happens when students are out of school in the summer. Recent work by researchers at NWEA, a nonprofit provider of student assessments, estimated that students would end this school year with only about 40 percent to 60 percent of the learning gains they’d see in a typical year.