Learning loss from spring school closures have had a significant affect on students, with scholars at Brown University estimating a 1/3 loss of expected progress in reading and an 1/2 loss expected progress in math from the previous year. While schools scramble to provide education either exclusively online or through a hybrid model, parents have been asking us, how do I make sure my student doesn’t fall behind? Here are 3 tips to make sure your child is on track.
Use online assessments
“Parents can use educational technology with predetermined assessments to monitor their students,” says Dr. Jennifer Economos, Ed.D.. “ Students can log on and find the topic they learned that day and either practice it or take a quiz.” Parents should consider doing this weekly for core subjects, and once every two weeks for additional subjects. One advantage of online assessments is that results are reported instantaneously. Teachers will also be providing reports, and parents can compare assessment results to what the teacher is seeing to get a more complete picture of how students are performing. Parents can also assess whether their students are ready to take standardized tests such as the SAT, ACT, or PSAT with a free online test.
Get an external evaluation
If students aren’t performing well in school or on online assessments, consider hiring a tutor for homework help or additional support. “The manner they are being taught may not be teaching them the skills they need,” says Dr. Economos. “They may need additional interventions. That’s why live instruction is so important.” Live instruction allows students to get immediate feedback and have their questions answered. Tutors and online teachers also provide additional evaluations and progress reports to parents. “If you only rely on one [source of evaluation] you’re not going to get the full picture of what your child needs,” says Dr. Economos.
Determine what kind of help they may need
“What are their strengths?” continues Dr. Economos. “What are their weaknesses, and what are the types of interventions that they need to do well? It may take parents a couple of weeks to figure that out. Is it a matter of tools? Is it a matter of not understanding the assignment? Or is it a deeper skill issue? Parents need to consider, do they need help with skills, or do they need help with the content and skills? If they’re just looking for the children to get the grade, then they’re probably going to want someone to work on something they’re learning in the class. But if they want them to work on a deeper educational issue, they’re going to want to work with someone who will give them additional practice on top of what they’re learning in the class.” Education isn’t just about grades. Students need to do well on standardized tests, evaluations, and later, in college. “There’s a ton of free technology out there. I would try to see what you can get there first. If you had limited funding and the ed-tech wasn’t working for you, I’d absolutely consider live one-to-one tutoring.”