Stay ready: Prepare your assessment plan for
potential future school closures

Across the United States, schools and families are bracing for the possibility of additional long-term school closures in the future. For schools, these closures create continuing logistical hurdles, as well as the duty to be responsive and sympathetic to the needs and concerns of teachers, students, and families. Delayed openings, short-notice closures, and the still-evolving terrain of Internet-based learning are a few of the challenges schools and families may well have to adapt to once more.

To make the situation even trickier, schools will continue to see a great deal of variation in their students. For example, economic disruption in the US and soaring unemployment rates meant many families relocated during the initial COVID-19 closures, with schools seeing more than the usual number of new faces in their classrooms (or on Zoom). There will be continued uncertainty about where kids are academically. According to projections from NWEA, students entering grades 3–8 following COVID-19 closures could expect about 70% of their expected learning gains in reading compared to a typical school year, and less than 50% of the gains in math.

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