Giving Compass' Take:

• School administrators are offering advice on how to address learning loss due to school closures because of the pandemic, deemed the 'COVID slide.'

• According to administrators, early data collection is the answer.  Will all school districts be able to do this? How can donors help increase capacity to collect data?

• Read more about how educators can equitably brace for the COVID slide. 

Less than a month after schools across the country transitioned to online learning in the spring, the internet went wild with posts that students would have to repeat their current grade levels in the fall.

The idea wasn’t popular with parents — or educators — who were relieved to find the stories circulating social media were merely a set of bad April Fool’s jokes rather than a government-mandated strategy to get students caught up.

In reality, solutions to the so-called “COVID slide” will vary from district to district — and may be much more complicated.

“It’s going to be really important to understand the gaps kids have, the unfinished learning that exists when kids come in,” said Jacob Bruno, vice president of professional learning at NWEA. The nonprofit organization recently released a report about COVID-19’s impact on student achievement.

Based on research of typical summer learning loss and data from the organization’s 2017-18 MAP Growth assessment, researchers projected students will return to school with about 70% of learning gains in reading and less than 50% in math compared to a typical school year.

There are other factors to consider as well, such as students’ social and emotional wellbeing.

The key will be to collect data early, the NWEA official said.

“Normally, you might wait a few weeks to kind of have some review with kids and knock off the cobwebs to attend to summer learning loss before you do kind of a fall baseline data collection via an interim assessment or what have you,” he said. “This is kind of like coming into the emergency room to some degree. As kids come into the classroom, like, ‘What do you know today?’”

Read the full article about COVID slide by Natalie Gross at Education Dive.