The learning curve: Revisiting the assumption of linear growth across the school year
Important educational policy decisions, like whether to shorten or extend the school year, often require accurate estimates of how much students learn during the year. Yet, related research relies on a mostly untested assumption: that growth in achievement is linear throughout the entire school year. We examine this assumption using a data set containing math and reading test scores for over seven million students in kindergarten through 8th grade across the fall, winter, and spring of the 2016-17 school year. Our results indicate that assuming linear within-year growth is often not justified, particularly in reading. Implications for investments in extending the school year, summer learning loss, and racial/ethnic achievement gaps are discussed.See More
View working paper
In this Brookings Brown Center Chalkboard blog, James Soland shares new research projections on potential impacts of COVID-19 school closures on student achievement, how wide the range in achievement might be between high and low-performing students, and what this may mean for educators.
This CPRE Research Minutes podcast explores findings from polls by The Education Trust on parents’ perceptions and concerns about their children’s learning during the COVID-19 crisis, projections by NWEA researchers on potential academic impacts of these unprecedented school closures, and potential strategies to mitigate learning loss and improve equity.
Consortium for Policy Research in Education Knowledge Hub Research Minutes podcast
In this segment on NPR’s Morning Edition, teachers describe the challenges their students face learning from home and NWEA’s Megan Kuhfeld shares projections of potential academic impacts for students of COVID-19 school disruptions.
Morning Edition, NPR
While COVID-19 learning interruptions are unprecedented in modern times, existing research on the impacts of missing school (due to absenteeism, regular summer breaks, and school closures) on learning can inform projections of potential learning loss due to the pandemic. In this study, we produce a series of projections of COVID-19-related learning loss and its potential effect on test scores in the 2020-21 school year based on estimates from prior literature and analyses of typical summer learning patterns of five million students.
In this interview, Dr. Beth Tarasawa and Chris Minnich (NWEA) and Dr. Jesus Jara (Superintendent, Clark County School District), discuss new research projections on potential learning loss from COVID-19 closures and the ongoing efforts to support students during this pandemic.
Nevada Public Radio
The academic year could start in late July or early August to address learning losses brought on by coronavirus-forced school closures affecting about 6.1 million California students, Gov. Gavin Newsom said Tuesday.
Los Angeles Times (2020, April 28)
The “COVID slide” will be more profound for students who are unable to access or fully participate in a robust remote learning curriculum. Closing the achievement gap will require Boston city leaders to propose bold, innovative solutions for whenever students are able to return to school in person.
The Boston Globe (2020, April 28)