The past year has brought tremendous upheaval for students, leaving many parents worried about “learning loss” and whether their children are hitting their academic milestones.
Until this point, the reopening of schools had been the most urgent academic challenge of the pandemic. However, as vaccine rollouts grow in efficiency and schools begin to re-open for in-person learning, new questions become more urgent. These questions will have to be answered, and answered well, if we are to begin moving toward the future.
Once schools have resumed operating in a more standard manner, the next major challenge for students will be addressing the question of learning loss. This is no small issue. In fact, it may be the most critical and defining challenge facing this generation of students.
The significance of learning loss over summer vacations had already been well studied before the pandemic. Publications such as the American Education Research Journal had already published estimates of a 30%+ “summer slide” during a normal year. COVID-related loss estimates, while still ongoing, are even more drastic. The educational research company NWEA estimates 3-6 months of learning loss from the beginning of the pandemic to September 2020. The Center for Research on Education Outcomes (CREDO) has slightly higher numbers, estimating 4-8 months of loss during the same period of time. The consulting firm McKinsey has estimated 4-12 months of learning loss by fall of 2021.
The easiest way for parents to understand “learning loss” is to think of the academic milestones that a student achieves at each grade level. These milestones range from the development of critical thinking and reasoning skills that apply across various disciplines to the sheer curricular information that students take in from grade to grade. When milestones are not met at the appropriate time, students tend to carry this deficit from grade to grade. Learning loss, if not addressed, tends to grow exponentially rather than resolving itself on its own.
Parents looking toward the 2021-2022 school year and beyond are strongly encouraged to equip their children for the return to school. Summer of 2021 can be an especially valuable time for students to identify, target, and shore up any areas of academic weakness, and to resume their pre-college careers with enthusiasm.
Parents looking for more information are invited to participate in our webinar, “Minimize Learning Loss and Pandemic Effects Among Middle Schoolers.” Topics include:
- The impact of learning loss on academic milestones
- How to evaluate your child
- How FLEX can help to mitigate the impact of COVID learning loss
To register or learn more about this webinar and other available webinar topics, go to our events page.
To watch a recording of the webinar “Middle Schoolers: Get a HeadStart During the Pandemic” visit our webinar library.
If you’d like more information about available FLEX programs that can help your 6th-12th grade student mitigate the impact of COVID learning loss, please visit our classes page.