School Safety — New Approaches, Technologies and Concerns

Learning Loss to Learning Gains & The Future

Crossing the Bridge from Learning Loss to Learning Gains & The Future

By: Meredith Biesinger 

 

Many schools, in many places, are still struggling with the question: how do we catch up?

 There’s not an easy answer to this; we know that. However, if we’re going to make sure students find success, it’s essential to take a closer look at both learning loss and learning gains. 

 Like many other regions, the deep south has been busy building bridges to combat learning loss, close gaps, and provide a forward path ahead for students to not only learn but be engaged in their education. 

 So, what is being done, and what is working? 

 Learning recovery programs such as standardized approaches to remote learning, after-school tutoring programs, and adaptive technology that allows students to work at their own pace have been implemented and are continually evolving. 

 These programs are helping to close learning gaps and provide a plan of action for schools if another significant learning disruption were to happen again. 

 Curriculum Maps 

 

Curriculum maps have always been helpful. They tie together learning standards while helping teachers teach holistic, cross-grade, and cross-subject levels. 

 More than ever, curriculum maps shed light on the gaps and gains of student learning, enabling schools to realign their curriculum to address learning loss. 

 The learning loss that students have experienced isn’t only in academics. There are also gaps in basic skills such as communication, collaboration, and behavior. 

 Curriculum mapping will continue to help identify and address learning loss while also building resilient schools where consistency and support 

co-exist. 

 Lesson Planning 

 Lesson planning might not seem like a key player in learning loss. After all, educators have always written lesson plans. However, if curriculum maps are the roadmap to learning recovery, then lesson plans are the turn-by-turn directions that’ll get us there. 

 

Scaffolding within lesson plans to reinforce previous learning while bringing other students up to where they need to be is essential—also, utilizing technology within lesson plans and designing learning activities that will keep students engaged. There is also an alternative option for students who don’t have reliable access to either technology or an internet connection. Finally, within those lesson plans, a way to measure or assess if learning has occurred. 

 

Flex-Scheduling 

 Many districts have created a “flex schedule” to combat learning loss. Flex-scheduling provides teachers and students more leaves, more often, while also ensuring learning retention. An example of flex scheduling is shortening summer break and then dispersing those days back into the school year at various times. School districts that have done this have seen learning gains within their students and have found that both teachers and students like having shorter, more frequent breaks. 

 

Moving Forward 

 Yes, learning loss exists. With an organized approach to curriculum mapping and lesson planning, teachers can pinpoint where learning happens – and where it doesn’t.

 There are better and brighter days ahead, but these days still matter; in fact, they matter very much. Educators and all stakeholders involved need to continue to plan, prepare, and put effective curriculum and intervention methods in motion, so we can continue to close the learning gaps and cross over the bridge together. 

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