School Practices to Address Student Learning Loss

Elaine Allensworth | Chicago Research Consortium
Nate Schwartz | Annenberg Institute at Brown University

Breaking Down the Issue

  • Learning losses are likely to show up differently across grades and subjects, with intensive recovery needs concentrated in the early grades and among already struggling students.
  • Supportive school environments and strong teacher-student relationships speed recovery from learning loss.

Strategies to Consider

  • High-dosage tutoring that is directly tied to classroom content – helping students succeed in their coursework – can substantially accelerate learning in both math and reading for the most struggling students.
  • Extended learning time interventions, including weeklong acceleration academies staffed with highly effective teachers and some double dose math structures, show strong evidence of effectiveness.
  • Strong systems to monitor for early student warning signs paired with strong norms and routines help students recover emotionally and engage academically.

Strategies to Avoid

  • Compressed content, grade retention, and enhanced Response to Intervention (RTI) show less evidence that they substantially shift learning outcomes for struggling students, and some have potential adverse long-term consequences.

Broad-Based Academic Supports For All Students

Heather Hill | Harvard University
Kathleen Lynch | Annenberg Institute at Brown University

Breaking Down the Issue

  • For children meeting academic benchmarks before the shutdown, slowdowns through September will not be catastrophic. However, delayed openings or shutdowns combined with weak remote learning offerings in the fall may set students’ learning back significantly.
  • In order to move students through grade-level content, schools will need to lean heavily on tiered strategies that include broad-based supports for all students and intensive intervention for students who have felt the pandemic’s impacts most directly.

Strategies to Consider

  • Face-to-face instruction is particularly important for early elementary students.
  • Targeted support strategies for families, such as take-home books, text messages, and family involvement programs, can effectively supplement in-school curriculum.
  • Teaching grade-level content to all students in the fall, while identifying students needing special support, can help students remain on track.
  • Scheduled time for teachers to communicate across grade-level teams and efforts to maximize instructional time can help students catch up while avoiding redundancy.
  • Teacher looping structures that keep students and teachers together for more than one academic year seem to be beneficial, but the evidence is thin, and large-scale shifts would require teachers to learn new content across multiple grade levels.

Strategies to Avoid

  • Large-scale, standardized testing is unlikely to yield results quickly enough and/or at a grain size that teachers can use to plan instruction.
  • Remediation programs that supplant regular instruction are likely to prevent students from learning new, grade-level content.

Guidance and Support for Students Moving into Postsecondary

Celeste Carruthers | University of Tennessee
Sade Bonilla | University of Massachusetts, Amherst
Dominique Baker | Southern Methodist University

 

Breaking Down the Issue

  • Recent recessions have increased existing employment gaps between workers with and without a college degree.
  • Research generally shows that students are better off attending college versus not and better off attending a more selective bachelor’s degree granting institution.
  • Both college-bound and career-bound students are at risk of losing momentum in 2020-2021 and transitioning to a less secure postsecondary pathway.

Strategies to Consider

  • Student trajectories can shift when students are made aware of institutional discounts, grants, and scholarships, particularly those offered by more selective universities.
  • Students often benefit from a better understanding their chances of admission to institutions with the best track records of bachelor’s degree completion.
  • Student coursework and School Profiles can communicate college readiness and how COVID-19 played out at individual schools.
  • Students moving from high school straight to careers may benefit from advanced career and technical education (CTE) in addition to employer and postsecondary partnerships.

Strategies to Avoid

  • Reducing access to effective counselors will limit informed course selection and hinder college enrollment, which is likely to increase inequality in postsecondary outcomes.
  • The Class of 2020 may have graduated, but they should not be forgotten. All students, and especially those who delay college enrollment, will likely benefit from proactive advising and support from their K-12 schools and districts.

Distance Learning Going Forward

What does research tell us about how to use distance or hybrid learning models to deliver high-quality instruction?

Expected August 2020

Alix Gallagher | Policy Analysis for California Education
Ben Cottingham | Policy Analysis for California Education