Learning gaps have widened due to school closures.
The ongoing challenges around remote and hybrid learning have led to widening learning gaps, with Black and Hispanic students experiencing the most impact. According to a 2020 study conducted by The Center for Research on Education Outcomes at Stanford University, the average loss in Reading is from one-third to a full school year, and the loss in Math is from two-thirds to 1.3 years of learning. Black and Hispanic students are experiencing the deepest impacts, and could see learning loss equivalent to 9-10 months (vs. 6.8 months for all students).
Given widening gaps in academic performance, it is harder than ever for teachers to reach and serve all their students.
In a June 2020 survey conducted by YouthTruth, 61% of students said many or all of their teachers are available to give extra help if they need it, leaving nearly 40% of students without the help they need to catch up. Teachers in schools with at least 75% of students who qualify for free and reduced-price lunch are most likely to say their students work on different content at different paces and need additional support.
The learning environment plays a crucial role in student success.
Learning is most effective when content is meaningful and relevant, when adults build caring relationships with their students, and when students are in classrooms that foster a sense of belonging and a growth mindset (Duke et al., 2017; Dweck, 2006; The Science of Learning; Quay, 2017). Recent Overdeck-supported studies by researchers in the Mindset Scholars Network showed that 9th grade students with stronger reports of growth mindset earned higher core course GPAs than students reporting a more fixed mindset. A second study found that math teacher messaging that supported growth mindset, belonging, purpose, and affirmation explained roughly 29% of the variance in student test score growth, exceeding the predictive power of established classroom practice inventories.
Acknowledging student variability can accelerate academic mastery.
Student-centered approaches to teaching and learning that acknowledge student variability and are tech-enabled in nature can accelerate mastery of academic standards. Saga Education, an Overdeck Family Foundation grantee providing high dosage math tutoring through a hybrid model, was able to help students gain an average of one to two and a half extra years of learning a year–and lead to higher grades across subjects. And tech-enabled curricula grantees such as ST Math and Zearn show promise in helping students get back on track with their math skills.
Social-emotional learning correlates to improved academic achievement.
Multiple studies have found that students who engage with experiences that develop social-emotional competencies earn more course credit, higher grades, and higher standardized test scores (Durlak et al., 2011).
Making high dosage math tutoring both impactful and cost-effective.
Scaling an evidence-based math program to elementary schools across the country.
Bringing a new way of looking at math from the classroom to the home.
Scaling virtual tutoring to close learning gaps.
Improve Tech-Enabled Literacy and Math Tools
Invest in developing and scaling high-quality tech-enabled literacy and math tools, including core and supplemental curricula.
Expand Targeted Educational Recovery
Scale access to targeted educational recovery programs, especially tutoring.
Increase Evidence-Based Decision Making
Improve evidence-based decision making in edtech purchasing and innovation through ongoing validation, field building, and knowledge generation.
Are tech-enabled solutions in hybrid settings as effective as in-classroom when it comes to impacting student outcomes?
How does teachers’ usage of tech-enabled solutions affect student learning outcomes?
Which resources most effectively increase parent engagement with their children’s tech-based curricula, specifically for low-income families?
How can we lower the cost of tutoring without losing its effectiveness on student outcomes?
In addition to tutoring, what other targeted educational recovery interventions are effective and scalable?
How can we increase the role that evidence plays in district decision making and purchasing of edtech programs and solutions?