NAEP Scores Highlight Need to Rethink the Future of Education
The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) scores released last Monday by the U.S. Department of Education were devastating, but not surprising. Numerous factors are at play, not the least of which is the variable and sometime chaotic approaches to providing basic access to quality learning during this period of disruption – whether in-person or remotely. What we saw across the 6,500 school districts we work with is that those that worked early to build coherent, sustainable, and human-centered responses fared better than those who chose a different path (be it merely sending kids home with worksheets or putting teachers and kids on Zoom to “make do”). It is too simplistic to say that school closures and remote learning are to blame for the decline in scores. In fact, some major urban cities where schools remained closed performed better than average.
For example, in the Los Angeles Unified School District – one of the largest in the country – students scored higher in three out of the four categories. The district prioritized high-quality virtual learning, internet access and attendance. This approach reinforces the notion that quality learning isn’t about the modality. Like any well-designed academic program, it is critical to ensure students and educators have what they need to thrive in a virtual environment – from high-speed internet access to quality digital materials to training on how to engage students and families in a virtual setting.
The pandemic exacerbated long-standing inequities in education. It is time to acknowledge the path forward is not by retracing our steps. We cannot lower expectations for students by merely trying to get back to pre-pandemic proficiency levels. We need to rethink what is possible – how we better support students and families, how and where learning happens, and how we support our educators to advance their practice and careers.
Learning technology can provide students and educators with the tools needed to catch up and accelerate. High-quality learning solutions can provide personalized intervention and acceleration for each student, allowing educators to measure student progress, assess grade-level readiness and pinpoint where more involvement or remediation is needed. Actionable data, down to the individual student level, enables teachers to focus their attention on where it’s needed most … and provides students with the content, experiences and support they need to perform at their best.
Helping students thrive is at the heart of what Edmentum does, offering effective, proven learning technology to help educators be their best in service of student learning. Our solutions are delivered digitally and flexibly woven into existing school curricula so educators can gain ongoing insight into student performance. We are a company of educators that wants to be part of the solution that moves education forward.