Where do we go from here? How can we recapture lost instructional time?
By Dr. Shauntee Mayfield
Learn more from Dr. Mayfield about how Measuring Up can take the stress out of alleviating the “COVID-19 slide.”
If the COVID-19 crisis has evoked a knee-jerk reaction and left your head spinning to find the best instructional delivery method for your students, you are not alone! The entire educational community is attempting to determine how to make the most of our virtual time with learners while meeting our own personal needs and those of our families. Further, the digital divide has revealed a greater challenge—one that has exposed a hidden vulnerability that makes it difficult to reach many of our students who quite possibly have the greatest academic needs. After all, tapping into digital resources requires, at minimum, a device and connectivity—luxuries not readily available in all homes. Undoubtedly, we need a plan for this!
For now, our focus is on meeting students where they are.
According to a recent Northwest Evaluation Association (NWEA) research brief, it is projected that students could lose from 30% to well over 50% of the achievement growth that would have been likely in a full, academic school year due to what is being referred to as the COVID-19 slide (Kuhfeld & Tarasawa, 2020). Questions at the forefront of our minds as educators include the following:
- How do we effectively manage our own feelings of uncertainty while calming students’ fears?
- How do we meet the basic needs of students, so they are poised to learn?
- How do we address the learning gaps that already exist and are likely to widen during national stay-at-home orders?
As you grapple with how to go about these seemingly insurmountable tasks, keep in mind that though tough, it is indeed possible to recapture lost instructional time, close learning gaps, and increase student readiness levels. Educators are resolute, resilient, and resourceful —and will unquestionably make it inevitable as we have become masters of doing more with less.
Not if, but when students report back to the classroom, there will surely be deficits that must be identified and addressed immediately to maximize precious instructional time. With the absence of recent state assessment data to help identify strengths and weaknesses, educators must devise an effective and efficient way to pinpoint these deficits and determine how to lead students to standards mastery. For seamless learning to take place and for future student success, it is imperative to:
- Include sound, standards-based instructional content and strategies along with meaningful, high-quality assessments;
- Select resources that provide blended learning opportunities in print and digital formats that are transferrable from school to home and vice versa; and
- Ensure that students are capable of and comfortable with using digital resources to avoid the breakdown in the two-way information pipeline that was just experienced.
As we make every effort to move beyond the temporary setbacks created by COVID-19, we see ourselves in a future that is bright, promising, and for which we are prepared.
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