How Will Educators Use Data on COVID-19 Learning Disruption?

Experts say recent findings can inform instructional strategies


New data continues to show impeded academic learning during the coronavirus pandemic. A critical question is: What, exactly, should be done to address the problem? Efforts are growing to better connect education data with instructional strategies during the education recovery.

Experts from the testing organization NWEA and the widely used Zearn Math program unpacked recent data and detailed how it can inform teaching and learning during a recent webinar from the Education Writers Association. Also, a school district leader shared on-the-ground insights about getting students back on track and moving forward.

The webinar explored how pandemic-caused learning gaps vary by race, ethnicity, income level, and other factors. For example, NWEA test results point to slower academic progress for students of color and those in high-poverty schools. NWEA also found less academic gains overall in math than reading. Meanwhile, a new Zearn report that examined usage data from the math platform concluded that “remediation” strategies for instruction produced slower gains than “acceleration.”

Reporters will come away with a better understanding of where students stand academically this fall, the challenges ahead for school systems, and a sense of the strategies at play to close academic gaps and help students succeed. They also will get story ideas and tips on using education data to better inform their coverage.

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This webinar was presented on October 5, 2021.