Covid-19 Created a Learning Gap for Millions of Kids Across the Country; New Research Shows Teachers Optimistic About Solutions to Recover From It

Covid-19 Created a Learning Gap for Millions of Kids Across the Country; New Research Shows Teachers Optimistic About Solutions to Recover From It

Nearly 8 in 10 Teachers Think One-on-One Supplemental Learning Is Among the Most Effective Means to Minimize Learning Gaps, and the Majority Would Recommend It to Parents

BYJU’S FutureSchool today released new research conducted by The Harris Poll, which gives hope to parents fearing their child may have lost a significant amount of learning during the pandemic. Engaging 500 pre-kindergarten to 12th grade teachers across the U.S., who taught a variety of subjects either in a hybrid learning environment (a combination of virtual and in-person), or exclusively in one or the other during the 2020-2021 school year, this study asks about their experiences with student learning loss, what types of learners experienced learning gaps, and a range of solutions that parents may consider to help their child recover lost learning. The findings revealed that over 3 in 4 teachers (78%) think that learning gaps are more noticeable in certain types of learners, and nearly 8 in 10 (78%) believe one-on-one supplemental learning is an effective solution to minimize them. Plus, over three-quarters (76%)  would recommend one-on-one supplemental learning to parents as part of a comprehensive learning curriculum.

While the “Teacher Survey on Bridging the Learning Gap” revealed a diverse range of factors that impact student learning, five key insights on pragmatic solutions emerged:

  • Teachers overwhelmingly believe learning gaps, which normally occur after extended breaks but became more pronounced due to the pandemic, can be reduced through supplemental learning (91%).
  • Over 8 in 10 believe that supplemental learning programs providing enrichment exercises can mitigate the Covid-19 learning gap (84%), as well as prevent learning gaps in general (84%).
  • Almost 9 in 10 are favorable towards one-on-one supplemental learning programs (89%), and over three-quarters are likely to recommend them as part of a comprehensive learning curriculum (76%).
  • Nearly all view one-on-one instruction as critical to students’ ability to learn and grasp concepts they may otherwise struggle with (90%), and the majority think parents should consider one-on-one supplemental learning programs to fill gaps in their children’s learning rather than holding their child back (84%).
  • Over 4 in 5 believe one-on-one supplemental learning provides a richer learning experience than classroom instruction alone (83%).

“We are really pleased that the data reveals a positive perception among educators of one-on-one supplemental learning as a viable solution to combat learning loss–and enough to recommend it to parents for a host of reasons,” says Prateek Ranjan, Head of North America at BYJU’s FutureSchool. “This study ultimately aims to help parents explore a wealth of learning opportunities by hearing educators’ thoughts about the pandemic and specific solutions they recommend, so children may recover what they missed and get excited about learning again.”

EXPERIENCES WITH PANDEMIC LEARNING LOSS & WHICH STUDENTS WERE AFFECTED MOST

The findings revealed that learning gaps did not affect all students equally. While 3 in 4 teachers saw students experiencing setbacks in key areas like reading/language arts (80%) and mathematics (78%), the majority believe gaps are more noticeable in certain types of learners (78%), and some types of learners are more prone to gaps, such as physical or kinesthetic learners (71%) and social or interpersonal learners (70%). Interestingly, almost 9 in 10 believe all students experience some degree of learning loss, regardless of what type of learner they are (87%).

Most teachers (91%) agree that the restrictions of COVID-19 forced them to engage students in more passive learning environments (large groups using one way communication), than active learning (small groups engaging in hands-on activities and two-way communication). Teachers were in almost unanimous agreement that students benefit more from active learning environments (95%).

ARE TEACHERS EQUIPPED WITH RESOURCES TO HELP STUDENTS REACH THEIR POTENTIAL, OR NOT?

When asked about their abilities to help students recover from Covid-19 learning loss using resources they currently have in the classroom or at school, the data is not so encouraging. It reveals over 3 in 4 teachers (77%) feel an extra burden to help students recover from pandemic learning loss, but they do not have adequate resources to do this. Teachers also reported that limited resources prevent a cutting-edge curriculum from being taught at their school (78%).

Digging deeper into what actually keeps them from delivering the highest quality instruction which will help students reach their full learning potential include: classroom size (66%) and population (e.g., mix of different types of learners, skill levels, learning challenges) (50%); ability to provide one-on-one instruction (51%); and focus on standardized testing (60%).

Over 9 in 10 believe the lack of resources and time to engage in one-on-one learning hampers students’ ability to get the individualized attention to reach their full potential.

PARENT TAKEAWAYS & SOLUTIONS, INCLUDING ONE-ON-ONE SUPPLEMENTAL LEARNING

While the evidence suggests teachers are constrained by time and resources in helping students recover, there is positive news, because they do have hands-on experience with a range of solutions. Parents may want to note that the programs and activities teachers believe are highly effective in minimizing learning gaps include:

  • Tutoring (80%)
  • One-on-one supplemental learning (78%)
  • Educational games (69%)
  • Summer school (59%)
  • Project-based learning (58%)

Fewer teachers consider group projects that facilitate collaboration (50%), computer programs (47%), flashcards (30%), educational TV shows (22%), workbooks and worksheets (20%), and study halls (16%) as effective ways to help minimize learning gaps.

BENEFITS OF ONE-ON-ONE SUPPLEMENTAL LEARNING & WHO BENEFITS MOST

While the benefits of one-on-one supplemental learning are many–teachers agree they are a great way to help kids stay engaged in areas of interest to them (96%)–they are not distributed equally. While over 4 in 5 believe one-on-one supplemental learning provides students a richer learning experience than classroom instruction alone (83%) and is a good alternative to summer school programs (82%), the ones who benefit most are: solitary or interpersonal learners (82%); and visual or spatial learners (70%).

Other beneficiaries are: logical or mathematical learners (69%); verbal learners (65%); auditory or musical learners (65%); and physical or kinesthetic learners (62%).

In addition, the majority believe one-on-one supplemental learning can help:

  • Strengthen a student’s knowledge and skills (70%)
  • Provide students the opportunity to explore subjects that may not be available to them in a traditional school setting (i.e. coding, music, art, science) (69%)
  • Expose students to new and different learning tools that aren’t provided in standard classrooms (69%)
  • Offer creative learning alternatives for students outside of a traditional classroom (65%)
  • Ensure students stay engaged in learning during extended school breaks (64%) and throughout the school year (61%)
  • Ensure students are ready for the next grade level when they return to school in the fall (56%)

And, 9 in 10 teachers think parents should consider using one-on-one supplemental learning to enhance their child’s in-class learning and at-home learning (90%). If parents are considering purchasing one-on-one supplemental learning, they should be aware that certain subjects are better suited for this, such as mathematics (84%), reading/language arts (80%), and science (62%), from a teacher’s perspective.

To learn more, read the full executive summary of BYJU’S FutureSchool “Teacher Survey on Bridging the Learning Gap” study here.


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