4 ways to address learning gaps for underserved students

While it is now clear that the pandemic has had a significant impact on student learning – especially for historically underserved students – we are still discovering the most effective ways to help students recover. It turns out that summertime has the potential to be a big part of the solution for some of our most marginalized students. 

Recent findings from NWEA’s research team show the power of summer learning in changing academic trajectories for students. More specifically, the studies reveal that students with disabilities, rural students, and English learners make academic gains at rates equal to or faster than their peers during the academic year but experience greater learning loss when they’re out of school in the summer. The backsliding is so significant that it causes persistent or growing achievement gaps over the course of these students’ academic careers.

The lesson for pandemic recovery is clear. Summer learning provides an underutilized opportunity to help students regain lost ground due to COVID-19 and ensure that achievement gaps do not continue to widen. It should also be part of longer-term strategies to advance learning for historically underserved students. When summer learning is not part of the instructional strategy, the research suggests that it may lead to persistent opportunity gaps and diminished school-year gains over time.  …Read More

The best ways to approach high-impact tutoring

What do we even mean when we say “high-impact tutoring?” As schools grapple with so many of the effects of unfinished learning, tutoring has emerged as a potential approach for addressing students’ educational needs.

“High-impact tutoring” is defined by the National Student Support Accelerator as a form of teaching 1:1 or in a small group toward a very specific goal. It is a form of tutoring that leads to substantial learning gains for students by supplementing, but not replacing, students’ classroom experiences and it’s intended to respond to individual students’ needs by complementing what they’re learning in the classroom.

High-impact tutoring is not just homework help, nor is it just test prep, so there is key differentiation between it and what most people conceptualize “tutoring” to be. It’s an intentional, multifaceted program that’s geared toward accelerating student learning. High-impact tutoring is not intended to solely focus on remedial skills; it’s about addressing the skills that are necessary for the student to make progress and advance to those instructional next steps.…Read More

7 strategies to counter student learning loss

Until very recently, learning loss was a matter of concern mainly because of long summer holidays. Students’ socioeconomic situations played a role in those concerns but, mostly, making up for the knowledge and skills lost over school breaks involved returning learners to their school routines.

And, of course, revising the last few weeks of last semester’s curriculum before moving on to new material.

The coronavirus pandemic has redefined what learning loss means. Generally speaking, nobody was prepared for the sudden and dramatic upending of life as they knew it. Some adapted quickly, while others struggle with the mental and physical impacts of COVID to this day.…Read More

Why we need formative assessment

Formative assessment, while not a new concept by any means, has been receiving a lot of attention recently due to discussions regarding student learning loss and the need for more digitized solutions for remote learners.

There’s been discussion in recent years about what formative assessment truly is. According to the Council of Chief State School Officers, formative assessment is the “planned, ongoing process used by all students and teachers during learning and teaching to elicit and use evidence of student learning to improve student understanding of intended disciplinary learning outcomes and support students to become self-directed learners.”

Ultimately, in the classroom, a teacher’s instructional action that is framed by a learning objective, skill, concept, or standard that invites students to demonstrate progress or mastery toward that established goal is considered formative assessment. This invites the notion that countless teacher and student interactions can be designated as an assessment tool. But what actually makes formative assessment one of the most important tools in an educator’s instructional practice?…Read More

Latest NWEA Research Shows K12 Educational Gaps Still Wide, but Show Signs of Stabilizing

PORTLAND, Ore., Dec. 22, 2021 /PRNewswire/ —  NWEA — a not-for-profit, research and educational services provider serving K-12 students — today released  new research that illustrates the scale and disproportionate nature of the disruption in student learning resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. The research,  Learning during COVID-19: An update on student achievement and growth at the start of the 2021-22 school year, is the third in a series of research briefs by NWEA focused on understanding how the pandemic has affected student reading and mathematics outcomes.

The research examined   MAP Growth assessment scores from six million U.S. public school students in grades 3-8 from fall 2021 compared to students in the same grade in fall of 2019, the last quarter unaffected by COVID-19. The research found evidence of significant levels of unfinished learning, particularly in math, however, gaps between current achievement and pre-pandemic achievement have not increased since the end of 2020-21, which may indicate the impacts of the pandemic are stabilizing. 

Key findings include: …Read More

Texas Education Agency Approves FEV Tutor as a Full-Service Provider in New Statewide High-Impact Tutoring Initiative

WOBURN, Mass. – Sept. 7, 2021 – The Texas Education Agency (TEA) has approved FEV Tutor to be a full-service member of the state’s new Vetted Texas Tutoring Corps (VTTC). The corps is an initiative aimed at accelerating student learning through high-impact tutoring. The TEA vetted all VTTC members to ensure they have the research-based criteria for high-impact tutoring. The agency also confirmed that the VTTC providers can help districts meet House Bill (HB) 4545’s requirements for supplemental accelerated instruction. Local education agencies (LEAs) may use local ESSER funding to obtain these tutoring programs.

The TEA-approved providers include both full-service and partial-service providers. Full-service VTTC members, like FEV Tutor, will provide end-to-end services, including instructional materials, tutoring platforms and trained tutors.

“We are excited to have been chosen to support the Texas Education Agency’s and Texas legislature’s commitment to providing scaled high-impact tutoring to the state’s K-12 community,” said Ryan Patenaude, Sr. Vice President and Co-Founder of FEV Tutor. “We believe that TEA’s high-impact tutoring initiative has the potential to make a true difference in the lives of students throughout Texas. Our mission is to make a social impact through K-12 education, and we’re doubling down on our commitment to the state of Texas and our strategic K-12 LEA, charter and ESC partners.”…Read More

5 sites to lighten the lesson planning load

Teachers’ jobs involve much more than teaching in the classroom or online. Putting together the right materials and resources for student learning is critical–and that’s where the right lesson planning tool can be invaluable.

Customized resources, small group activities, and resource organization are all made a bit easier with a little help from lesson planning tools, leaving teachers to spend more active time teaching, giving real-time feedback, and supporting students on an individual basis.

Lesson planning doesn’t have to be daunting. In fact, it can be downright fun with these resources.…Read More

4 steps to maximize summer learning

As we emerge from the darkness of closed school buildings, several studies have come out about the effect of the pandemic on student learning. “Learning loss” and “unfinished learning” are the main topics of conversation among educators, along with summer school programs and tutoring.

Research points toward the importance of maintaining on-grade-level instruction in the coming school year, as opposed to remediation. As such, providing access to on-grade material and instruction is paramount to helping students close gaps and move forward.

Areas of need…Read More

DreamBox Learning® Equips Educators with Lesson Recommendations to Accelerate Student Learning

New Lesson Recommendations feature helps teachers understand where students are in their math learning to support academic growth toward proficiency

BELLEVUE, Wash. —June 21, 2021 — DreamBox Learning®, the company that pioneered Intelligent Adaptive Learning™ technology, today launched DreamBox Lesson Recommendations, a new offering that gives educators real-time student progress insights with actionable next steps to meet student learning needs. Teachers can use this formative data to plan for individual or small group differentiation and customize their instructional strategies at any point during the school year.

As studies show the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted student progress and widened the opportunity gap, districts are looking for solutions that provide up-to-date, useful information about where students are in their learning and what students need to support their growth in math. Whether educators are preparing for summer programs or the new school year this fall, DreamBox Lesson Recommendations provides teachers with instant access to a detailed view into each student’s progress, including insights about which concepts or skills students should learn next as well as which students in their class are ready to learn those concepts with them.…Read More