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Online Learning Pods Fill the Gap In Hybrid Learning and Make Education Equitable

We’ve all felt the need to innovate during the coronavirus pandemic. From finding ways to effectively work from home to experimenting with ways to ensure our children get the most out of their virtual learning experience, we’ve all adapted. A prime example of this innovation has been the development of learning pods, where small groups of students gather together to learn virtually from an online tutor. These “pandemic pods” give students additional live instruction while also collaborating with their peers. As we head into a crucial period in the pandemic, hybrid learning and virtual classrooms are being supplemented with a new innovation: test prep learning pods.

The Importance of Standardized Tests in the Age of Coronavirus

In 2019, 2.2 million high school seniors took the SAT – a number that stands out as the most test takers ever for the SAT. Nearly the same number of students took the ACT. In 2019, more students than ever before were applying to four-year colleges and universities, while some states required students to take either the ACT or SAT in order to graduate.

These numbers changed when the pandemic hit and many schools dropped standardized test requirements for fall 2021 admissions. Counterintuitively, this made standardized tests even more important for some students who need those scores to stand out or to get into highly competitive schools. 

Students might be tempted to skip taking the SAT or ACT, especially if the scores aren’t required. But bucking that trend is a unique way to demonstrate the willingness to take on academic challenges, as well as confidence in their skills. 

For high schools and preparatory schools, supporting these students is a great way to stand out and help students achieve their full potential. 

More important, at some point, when the pandemic ends, students will need to demonstrate mastery of key skills and the core curriculum. State governments and districts will have to rely on standardized tests to evaluate the school’s performance, identify learning gaps and which students are truly ready for graduation and college-level work. Mastering test-taking skills now will help students throughout their academic careers, but in particular during the transitionary period back into our new normal. 

In short, if you’re not preparing your students for standardized tests, they are going to be at a huge disadvantage in the next six to 18 months. 

Online Learning Pods Make Education Equitable

School districts can make a difference by providing educators with ACT and SAT professional development and content licensing so they can create test prep learning pods for their students. The results speak for themselves: 75% of students who used A-List for test prep saw an average improvement of 7 points on the ACT and 182 points on the SAT

Additionally, administrators across the country understand the need to have these test prep classes as a way to make educational resources equitable, regardless of income. Not every student can afford an expensive test prep program, which can range anywhere between $100 – $1800 per course

This cost barrier can make it nearly impossible for lower income students to compete. The importance of training teachers and providing them with the support necessary to improve students’ scores cannot be understated. A test prep learning pod organized powered by customized personal development and instruction programs, and test prep materials based on extensive research and classroom experience, offer these students a leg up. 
Interested in finding out how you can institute test prep learning pods in your school district? Learn more about A-List’s Professional Development & Classroom Instruction program and see how we can work with you to help your students fulfill their full academic potential and succeed on college entrance exams.


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