Addressing Performance Data Trends and ASU Prep’s Solutions

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The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on students’ learning throughout the United States, as revealed by new research from the Center for Education Policy Research at Harvard University (CEPR) and Stanford University’s Educational Opportunity Project. The analysis shows the extent of this impact and highlights the need for recovery efforts. Fortunately, programs like those offered by ASU Prep are providing necessary support for both students and teachers.

The extent of learning loss

The research encompassed data from 8,000 communities across 40 states and Washington, D.C. Findings revealed that the average student in grades third through eighth missed half a year of math and a quarter of a year in reading. This learning loss was more pronounced in poorer districts and among students of color.

Factors such as school closures, community-level factors beyond school, higher COVID death rates, and increased adult anxiety over the pandemic contributed to this learning gap. Conversely, communities with higher voting rates or greater trust in government experienced less learning loss.

“Hard hit communities would need to deliver 150% of a typical year’s worth of material for three years to catch up.”

The research findings underscore the urgent need for school leaders to expand recovery efforts. CEPR faculty director Thomas Kane emphasized that hard-hit communities would need to deliver 150% of a typical year’s worth of material for three years in order to catch up. This would require a major increase in instructional time and revised recovery plans incorporating summer school, extended school year, tutoring, and a possible optional 13th year of schooling. These are not always feasible solutions.

Helping Arizona teachers access a wide range of training at no cost.

One integral way ASU Prep Digital is helping to close the learning gap is to support teachers so they can support their students. Ellie Reich, ASU Prep Digital Professional Development Product Manager, emphasizes the need to “support all teachers, all students.” ASU Prep Digital’s Arizona Virtual Teacher Institute does just that, providing no-cost training to all Arizona teachers, offering a range of options, including live webinars, asynchronous online professional development courses, and a library of no-cost resources.

“The training institute was designed to help Arizona teachers not just survive, but thrive.”

The training institute was designed to help Arizona teachers not just survive but thrive in adopting new digital, blended, hybrid, and tech-rich instructional practices. Some topics covered include best practices in virtual instruction and communication, effective classroom management, AI integration, and social and emotional learning.

Ms. Reich reflects on the importance of blended learning strategies. “Teachers are thinking about how they can utilize the technology they had to lean on during COVID and how they can bring those benefits back into the classroom. Blending the best elements of the technology with the best elements of being able to be face-to-face.” It is through this type of support that teachers are able to meet the needs of diverse learners in motivating and engaging ways.

To address math concerns, ASU Prep Digital offers Math Institute, a training series that equips educators with methods for creating “thinking classrooms” with strategies that foster critical thinking, problem-solving, and mathematical reasoning in students. The series emphasizes student-centered learning, collaboration, inquiry-based instruction, and cultivating a growth mindset to foster a positive math culture in classrooms.

While the pandemic has significantly disrupted education and widened inequality, initiatives like those at ASU Prep offer hope – and proven success.

Learn more about ASU Prep Digital’s Arizona Virtual Teacher Institute and explore flexible training options here.