On Mar 28, 2022
We don’t know what students learned these past two years. Here are 3 steps to find out.
For most students, school has not looked “normal” for over two years. The pandemic impacted all learners, but by how much? Each student is different – the trend is not clear. We do know that recent efforts to quantify learning loss have shown that the toll varies widely by age, environment, learning style, and other demographics.1.2
“Some students really thrived – virtual learning helped them stay focused with a quiet at-home environment great for self-pacing; others had sick family members and were responsible for their siblings at home – they couldn’t even log into class discussions,” said a 4th Grade Teacher in Atlanta Public Schools. “The impact on learning was not equally distributed and I think we will see the challenges of this time play out in our classrooms for many years to come.”
So, how do we determine where students are and how to respond to their unique learning needs?
Step 1: Gather a baseline with Universal Screening
A “one size fits all” approach to academic intervention leaves a large percentage of students without necessary support. Instead of implementing sweeping interventions, we must carefully craft instruction to meet students where they are. But where are they? Administering a teacher-friendly evidence-based benchmark assessment to all students, such as easyCBM®, can kickstart the process of individualizing instruction. Educators can quickly create a longitudinal datapoint and identify students’ strengths and weaknesses. Universally screening with a benchmark assessment provides a baseline and gives educators insights to personalize instruction and plan appropriate interventions.
Step 2: Monitor Learning Progress
Once we know where students are, we need to frequently monitor student progress and assess the effectiveness of intervention plans. Robust progress monitoring tools can give educators immediate data to inform intervention practices, assess students’ growth towards desired goals, and strategically adjust instruction to align with student advancement.
When working with our youngest (and most impacted) learners, an easy-to-use progress-monitoring tool like ESGI can save teachers 400+ hours a year by streamlining the one-on-one assessment process for grades PreK-2, with real-time data and over two thousand customizable assessments. Teachers can even create personalized assessments for specific students, subjects, or grade levels. ESGI’s easy-to-administer assessments and immediate results allow teachers to differentiate instruction and respond to student needs competently.
Progress monitoring tools like easyCBM and ESGI enable educators to strategically tailor instruction to every student’s existing skill level. The cycle of monitoring progress and responding to the data helps teachers proactively address every learner’s needs, regardless of learning style or pandemic impact.
Step 3: Measure Student Growth
After gathering baseline data and consistently adapting to progress monitoring insights, we can measure student growth over the course of a semester or school year. The achievement data gives us a strong indication of whether our instruction has adequately met student needs and if we need to adjust instruction or intervention practices.
Then, we start the cycle over. Benchmark, monitor progress, measure growth, repeat. The consistency of this process maximizes educators' insights to immediately adapt instruction and directly support performance.
Interested in more ways to support students as we return to a more “normal” learning environment? Visit us at riversideinsights.com.
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Learn more about easyCBM: A research-backed progress monitoring tool developed by the Behavioral and Research Team at the University of Oregon, provides rich data on intervention effectiveness, helps organize students into intervention groups, and identifies at-risk students. Students can be screened up to three times a year for close monitoring of progress at the individual, classroom, school, and district levels in both math and reading. This online tool can even be administered remotely. District subscriptions include access to CBMSkills, a skill-based math practice platform for K-5 students that can be used daily, and Write Right Now, an online tool for collecting and grading writing assignments for grades 3 and up.