To begin the Spring 2021 semester, the U.S. Department of Education invited Joel Rose to participate in a discussion on student learning during the pandemic. As one of two featured personalized learning platforms to receive an invitation to speak, Joel shared insights and tools that families and teachers can use in support of student success. The conversation, held on January 14th and moderated by Institute for Educational Sciences (IES) Director Mark Schneider, included national leaders in education research. Stanford’s Center for Research on Education Outcomes (CREDO) and Northwest Evaluation Association (NWEA) reviewed findings on student learning and spoke to the importance of rethinking education to address unprecedented challenges of learning loss and academic equity gaps.
Learning loss is hitting harder in math than in reading
CREDO reported that the average learning loss for the typical student was more dire in math than in reading. The rates of learning loss were worse still in vulnerable schools and among vulnerable students. CREDO stressed that academic remedies are going to take years and are only part of what students need; new approaches to schooling and new assessments that give a sense of where each student is will be critical.
Students are missing from learning loss data
NWEA confirmed CREDO’s findings, sharing that, compared to fall 2019, student achievement this fall was similar in reading, but on average, 5 to 10 percentile points lower in math. Expanding on this data, NWEA noted equity concerns related to the missing data about students from underserved communities, underlining that understanding the challenges connected to compiling a complete data set is key to understanding the full picture of learning loss and the whole-child needs of all our nation’s students.
Connecting each student to their path for college/career readiness
Following this presentation of research and challenges, Assistant Secretary for Planning, Evaluation, and Policy Development (OPEPD) Jim Blew interviewed Joel Rose on how families and teachers can support their students during these times and beyond. Joel shared information from New Classrooms’ years of experience looking at individual student success, speaking to the importance of recognizing each student’s mastery of each of 300 skills needed to be prepared for college and/or a career. Joel shared that Teach to One can be the path to connect each student to each skill and provide teachers and students that personalized direction.
The need to rethink education
The common theme of the conversation was the need to rethink education and the call to address the unprecedented challenges brought on by Covid-19. We look forward to engaging in conversations like this in the months and years ahead.