After this school year there are more than a few phrases I hope to never hear again. Learning loss is definitely on that list. I’m still not sure how we can lose something if we never had it. Can you really lose learning?
I’ve been searching for preliminary data from the 2020-2021 school year, but it’s slow to come out. Almost all the data I found was from the beginning of the school year and related to the 2019-2020 school year. We’ve already dealt with the immediate aftermath of the spring of 2020. We know the effects. Personally.
When searching for data and “learning loss”, I was appalled at some suggestions I saw. The recommendations ran the gamut from completely skipping over any and all missing skills or concepts and jumping ahead of where students “should” be to having mass amounts of students repeat a grade.
There is no doubt that we are going to be bombarded with magical solutions and programs to address “learning loss”. While I’m always open to learning and trying new things, I don’t plan to throw out my common sense and experience either.
While I don’t particularly love the phrase “learning loss”, I do expect the next school year to present a challenge. And, those challenges won’t be the same for everyone. Regardless of our mode of instruction (virtual, face-to-face, alternate schedules, hybrid models, etc) I can’t help but anticipate our starting place for next year looking a bit different from a “normal” school year.
This year, more than ever, it will be important to provide authentic and high quality instruction to our students. More than likely, we will have to slow down a bit, reteach more than normal, or teach lessons from previous grade levels. We’ve always done those things, but the quantity of students who need those additional learning opportunities may be what is most noticeable.
Since I anticipate next year being a bit of a challenge with huge ranges in mastery of math content, I wanted to have a short and sweet resource that would let me know where to pinpoint or start my instruction. I’ve used digital programs, but I wanted something specific to individual units. This was the motivation behind my new Math Pretests With a Twist.
In this resource, each pretest begins with second grade standards and progresses through third and then fourth grade standards. This will let me easily see what concepts need addressing before teaching grade level standards.
Each pretest is organized by grade level skills and concepts. The assessment begins with second grade standards and progresses through third and then fourth grade standards. The assessments do not indicate a grade level, as that might create stress on students. However, I have placed a discreet indicator on the assessments that will allow you to discern between second, third, and fourth grade standards.
These brief assessments will allow you to see what concepts need addressing in order to teach your grade level standards. They can help you form flexible groups and provide you with a starting place. I recommend assigning these one unit at a time, rather than all assessments at the beginning of the year. Through high quality instruction in foundational concepts, some skills may naturally “click” for students.
There is also a checklist for each of the pretests that indicates the concepts and skills addressed in each of the assessments. The horizontal checklist is editable so you can add students’ names.
This will be such a help for us as we try to pinpoint specific needs. Because it reality, is there ever a normal year? You can find the assessments here.