• Erica Peterson

COVID-slide widens achievement gap

McKinsey’s latest report reveals jaw-dropping and disheartening results all at the same time in COVID-19 and student learning in the United States: The hurt could last a lifetime.

"How much learning students lose during school closures varies significantly by access to remote learning, the quality of remote instruction, home support, and the degree of engagement."

"Learning loss will probably be greatest among low-income, black, and Hispanic students. Lower-income students are less likely to have access to high-quality remote learning or to a conducive learning environment, such as a quiet space with minimal distractions, devices they do not need to share, high-speed internet, and parental academic supervision."

From the report:

  • Only 60 percent of low-income students are regularly logging into online instruction

  • 90 percent of high-income students are logging in

  • Engagement rates are also lagging behind in schools serving predominantly black and Hispanic students

  • Just 60 to 70 percent are logging in regularly

If school closures and part-time schedules continue intermittently through the 2020-21 school year, "the average (learning) loss is seven months. But black students may fall behind by 10.3 months, Hispanic students by 9.2 months, and low-income students by more than a year. We estimate that this would exacerbate existing achievement gaps by 15 to 20 percent."

“These numbers are sobering—but they are not inevitable…It is therefore urgent to intervene immediately to support vulnerable students.”

What can be done?


TAKE ATTENDANCE

I get it...I know I sound like a broken record, repeating myself over and again on why taking attendance and tracking data is still critically necessary.

  • Depending on your LEA, you may be absolved from taking and reporting attendance for accountability &/or apportionment purposes.

  • "How much learning students lose during school closures varies significantly by access to remote learning, the quality of remote instruction, home support, and the degree of engagement."

  • Taking attendance is the only way to identify the degree theses barriers exist

COMMUNICATE AND CONNECT - INTERVENE & OUTREACH

  • “These numbers are sobering—but they are not inevitable…It is therefore urgent to intervene immediately to support vulnerable students.”

  • A glimmer of hope!

  • We must connect and support families. Communicating in the native language, across all channels and with rigor, is a small step in the right direction to identifying specific barriers and challenges students are facing with the distance learning environment.

TRACK DATA

We may want to consider the guidance provided by Texas Education Agency intended to help districts with problem solving and decision-making.

  • THEY TRACK

  • The number of students who are infrequently engaging in their distance learning instruction under COVID-19 circumstance.

  • The number of students who they have been unable to contact

  • The number of students they had difficulty contacting for multiple days, reengaged in their continued learning activities, but then lose track again.

  • In addition, the above information should be categorized in terms of special population students such as those that live in foster homes and the homeless as well as demographically to include gender, race and grade level.

Read the full report >

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