Five Questions State Boards Should Ask about Accelerated Learning
In March 2021, President Joe Biden signed the American Rescue Plan (ARP) Act of 2021, which requires districts to set aside 20 percent of the stimulus funding to address the lost instructional time that many students experienced during the pandemic. State education leaders have options other than remediation and retention to help students get back on track. They will need to help districts and schools identify evidence-based approaches to accelerate learning so students can meet grade-level expectations and graduate high school on time.
Based on 2020 estimates, the average amount of instructional time lost due to school building closures would reach about seven months for all students, with black students possibly falling behind by 10.3 months on average, Hispanic students by 9.2 months, and low-income students by more than a year.
Closing achievement gaps has long been an elusive goal for leaders of state education systems. A 2019 empirical analysis of middle school math performance in six states and Washington, D.C., concluded that some gap reduction is possible but very rare. No school closed the math achievement gap during middle school years between 2014 and 2018, according to the analysis. Approximately 9 percent of sample schools were able to consistently reduce the achievement gap in middle school math performance, and fewer than 1 percent were able to close the achievement gap and increase their weakest students’ understanding of middle school math. …