School Practices to Address Student Learning Loss

Research Rundown Issue: August '20
Publisher: UChicago Consortium on School Research
Date Published: June '20


Published in partnership with the Annenberg Institute at Brown University and Results for America, this brief provides research and recommendations for how districts can address learning loss. Importantly, the researchers noted that learning losses are likely to be larger for students who were already struggling academically and elementary school students. They also note that the learning losses are likely to be larger in math than in English, but that math losses are potentially more responsive to interventions.

To address learning loss, the research recommends:

  • High-dosage tutoring that is directly tied to classroom content. Research from schools that were able to provide around two hours of daily tutoring as part of their extended day and saw meaningful closure in achievement gaps.
  • Extended learning time interventions, including weeklong acceleration academies that are staffed with highly effective teachers. Other cities that have done this have seen significant positive effects in math and reading test scores, as well as long-term outcomes.
  • Strong systems for monitoring early student warning signs coupled with strong norms and routines to bolster students’ academic learning and social-emotional health. Systems that track attendance, grades, assignment completion, and more are better able to individualize services and identify the proper interventions.

The brief warns against strategies—like grade retention and content compression—that shift student learning and can have some potential adverse long-term consequences for students.

Why This Matters in Minnesota

All Minnesota students will have faced some learning disruption over the past year. With projections estimating that students will have lost between one-third to half of what they would have learned in a normal school year, it’s imperative that all schools use diagnostic or screener assessments to measure where students are. Then, using that data, schools must communicate areas for catch-up and growth to students and families and use research-based interventions to meet students where they are and accelerate learning.

Read the full report