The COVID 19 pandemic has created many new and unique educational issues. It is abundantly clear that most students experienced some degree of lost learning. Admirably, most school districts fixed the various non-attendance, grading, and technology issues that plagued the end of the 2019-2020 school year. However, a new widespread issue has arisen in the 2020-2021 school year. What do we do to help the students who suffered the most from last year’s lost learning?
The school districts that are likely to face this challenge to the greatest extent are those with large populations of at-risk students. At Standards Plus, we advocate that schools provide equal opportunities for all students to learn their current grade-level standards while providing targeted intervention for the students who have fallen behind. Ensuring all students receive grade-level instruction is ethical, essential, and most effective. Standards Plus’s developers applied extensive research and knowledge from their vast experience working with at-risk students to determine that this is the best approach.
In a typical year, mandated testing has been a significant motivation that drives schools to focus on grade-level instruction for all students. Many educators chafe under the perceived onus of testing accountability and might argue that tests should be omitted during the 2020-2021 school year. Some believe that given the current circumstances, we can’t expect students to perform “at grade level” and that testing would be unfair to students and impose unrealistic expectations on teachers, schools, and school districts. However, at Standards Plus, we believe that the exclusion of tests may cause many educators to replace grade-level instruction with remediation as an effort to get students caught up. Moreover, if we do not test, how will we assess the educational impact of the pandemic?
Educators need to ensure that students catch up and move forward with “at grade level” instruction. Some students will catch up with minimal backtracking and will quickly be prepared to move on. Many others will need to move forward with their current grade-level content and receive intensive simultaneous instruction to learn what they missed. If we spend a significant portion of another school year teaching previous grade-level content, some students may never catch up.
Standards Plus has a solution. Use the previous grade-level Standards Plus High Impact Standards materials to catch up and reinforce current grade-level instruction. Concurrently, teach your grade-level adopted core materials in conjunction with the grade-level appropriate Standards Plus materials. This solution is easy, fast, and proven effective.