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The U.S. Department of Education recently hosted a webinar to discuss the widening learning gaps due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The webinar, held on January 14, was led by Jim Blew – former assistant secretary for planning, evaluation, and policy development at the U.S. Department of Education – and Dr. Mark Schneider – director of the Institute for Educational Sciences.
The webinar hosted educational learning loss experts and researchers Dr. Macke Raymond from Stanford’s Center for Research on Education Outcomes (CREDO) and Aaliyah Samuel from the Northwest Evaluation Association (NWEA), who both shared valuable insights on learning loss during a typical school year. They specifically discussed learning loss in math and reading, how the pandemic has exacerbated these gaps, and how learning loss impacts students in lower-income and at-risk populations.
After discussing the negative impacts of learning loss during the pandemic, Dr. Schneider introduced Joel Rose, who discussed Teach to One’s approach to addressing learning loss in math and how it has evolved to meet the needs of students, teachers, and parents during this unprecedented time.
Learning Loss in Math Is Overwhelming, Especially in Vulnerable Communities
CREDO began by sharing that learning loss continues to be a struggle for educators and students as classroom sizes expand and the amount of individualized student instruction diminishes. Specifically, learning loss in math, above all other subjects, continues to be the biggest obstacle, especially in vulnerable populations.
CREDO shares that the school closures due to COVID-19 enhanced these losses, and traditional academic remedies will take years to bring students back to where they need to be. The only viable option is for schools to implement new and innovative approaches to fill the gaps.
Expanding on CREDO’s findings, NWEA shared that, compared to fall 2019, student achievement in math had dropped 5–10 percentile points, while student achievement in reading stayed about the same. NWEA shared specific concerns relating to equity and missing data sets from vulnerable communities, stating that until all students are accounted for, the challenges relating to learning loss will be far greater than currently measured.
Teach to One Offers Hope Through Innovation and Technology
Following the presentations of data from CREDO and NWEA, Blew then interviewed Rose to discuss how his organization, New Classrooms Innovation Partners, and its platform, Teach to One, bridges the gap of learning loss among middle grade math students and helps students, families, and educators work together to help propel students to success.
Rose shared that math students need to master 300 skills to be prepared for high school graduation. He explained that because math is cumulative, if a student falls behind in one or two of these skills, it holds them back further and further as they advance through each grade.
Teach to One offers innovative and technology-based solutions to help get students to where they need to be. The personalized learning model and math curriculum, Teach to One 360, engages students in various types of learning environments, from self-guided learning to peer collaboration to teacher-led instruction, allowing students to master one skill before moving on to the next. Teach to One also offers a suite of digital tools called Roadmaps, which includes a free, online diagnostic assessment to understand your student’s strengths and needs. Users can upgrade to access online lessons to help students learn the skills needed according to their personalized roadmap. Teacher and parent resources are also available to further support student learning.
The hosts of the webinar platform and researchers in attendance agreed that innovative, personalized, accessible technology will be necessary to help close learning gaps quickly and efficiently. Dynamic platforms such as Teach to One are helping educators and students rethink education, providing a brighter outcome for the leaders of tomorrow.
About New Classrooms Innovation Partners and Teach to One
New Classrooms Innovation Partners (New Classrooms) was founded in 2009 by Joel Rose and Chris Rush. New Classrooms is a national nonprofit on a mission to personalize math education for each student.
Rose, a former teacher, saw a dire need for students to gain individualized attention to help them learn and excel in math. In 2009, Rose and Rush developed a personalized learning platform for the New York Department of Education (NYDOE) called School of One. The platform used innovative technology to build unique lesson plans and curriculum for students based on their individual needs. School of One was named one of Time magazine’s Best Inventions of the Year that same year.
The success that New Classrooms found with the School of One platform led to the development of Teach to One, which is now used in schools and districts nationwide. Teach to One 360 ensures each student is learning the right math lesson, at the right time, and in the right way. Teach to One 360 offers eight learning modalities, which aim to help students reach milestones, understand new concepts, and boost comprehension. To learn more about Teach to One, visit www.teachtoone.org.