Six Steps to Helping Students Overcome Learning Loss
Key Takeaways for Returning to the Classroom
Every back-to-school season, educators must prepare to confront and mitigate the learning loss students suffer from prolonged breaks away from the classroom. But this year, learning loss will likely look a lot worse, and much more varied from one student to the next.
How deeply COVID-19 school closures have impacted academic achievement across the board is uncertain. NWEA estimates that, depending on grade level, students could lose between half and all the achievement growth one would expect in a normal academic year.
But that’s not the only obstacle that will be present for school this fall. Teachers and students alike will be facing the anxiety and trauma that comes in hand with uprooted schedules, new classroom routines, the uncertainty of the future, and the ever-present threat of a pandemic.
Over the course of the summer, we published a series of blogs aimed at supporting educators as they work to remedy pandemic-related learning loss. From these articles, we compiled a list of six steps to help instructors this challenging back-to-school season.
1. Diagnose Learning Gaps
Virtually all PreK-12 students in the United States had an interruption to their face-to-face instruction as a result of COVID-19. The first step is for educators to measure students’ academic progress and identify gaps, which can be more easily achieved using educational technology. Adaptive technology can help educators perform “instructional triage” in the fall — assessing each student’s progress, proficiency, and mastery in a particular subject, identifying the gaps that must be filled, and providing the student with tailored content that they are ready, and able, to learn.
Upturning the COVID-Slide
Using Adaptive Technology to Measure, Identify, and Bridge Learning Gaps
Adaptive solutions, like McGraw Hill Rise, provide educators with the ability to know what information to present to a student by understanding what the student has already mastered. Adaptivity is about responsiveness, both for the student and the educator.
And while the true extent of learning loss remains unclear, one thing is certain: educators will need a consistent way to assess their students’ knowledge gaps and help bridge them, in a personalized, nimble, and data-driven manner.
2. Prioritize Personalization
Learning is being conducted in a new environment, at least for foreseeable future and possibly in some respects forever. Personalization will be key to reaching every student, by embracing movement, collaboration, meaningful small group engagement, and viewing students as individuals with unique needs.
Through the pandemic, educators have been challenged to provide meaningful education experiences at a distance and now more than ever need instructional tools focused explicitly on shaping students’ instructional experience.
Personalization’s Role in Post-Pandemic Education
The skill levels of students are bound to be more disparate than ever when we return to classrooms. How are we going to…
3. Take a Trauma-Informed Approach
Educators will welcome students back carrying the wide variety of quarantine experiences they will bring — some excited and eager to share all that happened while we were away and ready to learn, others with backpacks overflowing with toxic stress far heavier than before. The challenges students face through the pandemic don’t go away once class resumes.
A trauma-informed approach to learning is vital for intentional and authentic learning. We must acknowledge the realities that students have faced through this collective-trauma to the classroom.
The Canary in the Coal Mine and the Antidote for the Future of Education
Seven Ways to Create Resilient, Trauma-Informed Schools Post-Pandemic
4. Complement This With Healing-Centered Strategies
Administrators and instructors have the ability to build a school system that allows for the adult staff to have self-care time built into their day. A school where adult social-emotional learning and growth is fully infused into the systemic structure of how we facilitate education.
We also must not forget that educators have had to make a major pivot in their instructional delivery all while managing their own changes to their personal situation. A healing centered focus on the adults in our buildings will support a more cohesive and inclusive culture to bring our students and families back.
5. Be Flexible
In today’s environment, a teacher may be working to reach students in the classroom, in a remote setting, or perhaps a combination of the two. Whether it’s virtual, in a brick-and-mortar building, or a combination of the two, changes to the learning environment can impact each student’s learning journey in different ways and the right educational technology can help educators facilitate learning, no matter when or where it happens.
The Power of Flexible Instruction
Five Reasons Adaptive Tech Will be Key this Back-to-School Season
6. Use Your CARES Act Funds
The third stimulus package includes specific measures that provide relief to schools and institutions of higher education, as they expand virtual and online instruction to their students who are now completing their schoolwork remotely. Learn how you can use these funds to improve your classroom this year.
Need more back-to-school support? Visit our resources page:
Back to School Preparation and Support | McGraw Hill
Teachers and administrators using McGraw Hill can get their back-to-school questions answered in one place about topics…
CARES Act and Education | Overview & FAQs | McGraw Hill
The federal government has provided billions of dollars in relief funding to K-12 school districts and institutions of…
Learn more about our new adaptive math and ELA supplemental solution for grades 3–8.