Nationwide surveys reveal parents’ and educators’ concerns and hopes regarding students’ ongoing unfinished learning.

Unfinished learning concerns still plague educators

Nationwide surveys reveal parents’ and educators’ concerns and hopes regarding students’ ongoing unfinished learning

Key points:

Concerns over unfinished learning continue to occupy educators’ minds, with only teacher shortages and burnout ranked higher, according to a national survey conducted by The Harris Poll and commissioned by Lexia, a part of Cambium Learning Group.

Just 43 percent of parents strongly agree that their child’s school has done a good job addressing unfinished learning from the 2021-22 school year, according to the survey.

For educators, teacher shortages and burnout are the only issues that loom larger than unfinished learning and other curriculum concerns. In Lexia’s 2023 nationwide survey of educators, almost half (45 percent) of respondents cited unfinished learning and curriculum issues like grade level appropriate topics as sources of concern for the 2023-24 school year.

In addition, multiple respondents added comments about their struggle to meet the wide range of learning needs for all the students in their classroom.

Examples of those comments include:

  • “[S]tudents beginning way below grade level.”
  • “Not enough time to teach required curriculum.”
  • “Students[‘] needs outweigh adult ability to support.”

“Results from the 2022 NAEP and the 2023 NWEA assessments reinforce the picture we’ve obtained from these two surveys,” said Lexia President Nick Gaehde. NAEP scores of fourth and eighth graders revealed a decline from 2019, with 69 percent of fourth graders and two-thirds of eighth graders reading below proficiency.

Additionally, NWEA’s data showed that the general pace of students’ learning slowed rather than accelerated during the past school year. “That means unfinished learning resulting from the 2020 pandemic is still a concern,” added Gaehde. “In fact, it may have been exacerbated.”

Gaehde continued, “Everyone’s looking for solutions, and although our surveys found that 47 percent of parents and 73 percent of Lexia’s educators feel more one-on-one time for students with teachers would help students be at or above grade level during the 2023-24 school year, the teacher shortage makes that solution unfeasible in many areas of the country.”

However, parents and educators agree on another solution that is more feasible for many districts – using educational technology to support teachers’ efforts. When asked what their schools did well during the 2022-23 school year, Lexia’s educators most often cited technology investments for classroom learning, with over two-thirds (69 percent) of respondents selecting that survey option. Parents have a great deal of confidence in teachers’ technological capabilities, with 88 percent of them believing that teachers at their children’s schools are properly trained to use technology in the classroom.

The Lexia survey also questioned educators about the product features that supported literacy instruction. The most frequently cited was personalization for each student, which was chosen by 76 percent of educators. Progress monitoring tools came a close second, being cited by three-quarters (75 percent) of respondents. Over two-thirds of respondents (69 percent) wanted features that were based on the science of reading as well as features that were flexible or adaptable. Rounding out the top five was data-driven action plans, a feature that was chosen by 58 percent of respondents.

Other survey findings include:

  • 55 percent of parents in the Lexia/Harris Poll survey say their child had put in extra time through tutors, extra classroom work or summer school to fully make up for the unfinished learning from the previous school year.
  • 35 percent of parents think their child’s school could improve on investing in reading-specific technology resources to help students outside the classroom when thinking about their child’s current reading and language abilities.
  • 46 percent of educators say more training and professional development opportunities are a good way to retain teachers.
  • 41 percent of educators who primarily taught 9-12 said they had concerns about ChatGPT while only 19 percent of educators who primarily taught 6-8 said they had concerns about the artificial intelligence technology.

This press release originally appeared online.

Related: 5 ways to help students struggling with algebra due to learning loss

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