Will This School Year Be Another Casualty of the Pandemic?

Research Rundown Issue: December '20
Publisher: RAND Corporation
Date Published: November '20


RAND surveyed a nationally representative sample of teachers on how school is going under COVID-19, including whether teachers were teaching new content and able to contact students, if students were completing assignments, and whether students were prepared to do grade-level work. Two-thirds of teachers reported that the majority of their students were less prepared to participate in grade-level work than in years prior, and even more among teachers serving primarily low-income students. Teachers also reported that they are having difficulty contacting all of their students. On average, teachers indicated that they had been able to contact only 80% of their students. In terms of curriculum, 55% of teachers indicated that they were covering new content, while 45% said that they had done mainly review. The researchers concluded that policymakers should direct targeted funding and resources to schools that serve large populations of low-income students and students of color that have been in remote learning. 

Why This Matters in Minnesota

With the vast majority of Minnesota districts utilizing distance or hybrid models, it’s important for educators and policymakers to consider how they will work to re-engage students and work to prioritize those who have been disconnected from learning when it comes to decisions around resource allocation and support. 

It’s also important for districts to be providing a high-quality and rigorous education, regardless of the schooling model. This includes providing feedback to students as well as teaching new content—areas where Minnesota districts need to make improvements. Our fall learning plan analysis found that only one-third of plans laid out a grading policy, and even fewer indicated whether students will receive feedback on assignments. 

Read the full report