COVID learning loss comparable to that inflicted by Hurricane Katrina, study finds; math drops outpace reading
Learning loss during the pandemic may have exceeded the damage inflicted on New Orleans students by Hurricane Katrina, according to a recently released study of standardized test scores. Setbacks in math achievement exceeded those for reading, and achievement gaps between comparatively rich and poor schools expanded dramatically. As the United States approaches the end of...
By Kevin Mahnken | June 1, 2022
New research points to ‘Loudoun County effect’: When parents clash over ideology, kids’ school performance suffers
Since the 2020 election, schools have emerged as some of the most contentious venues for American cultural discourse, with debates over the teaching of race, human sexuality, and U.S. history erupting into yelling matches and viral confrontations. The political impact is increasingly seen in state and local elections, where school board members have faced a...
By Kevin Mahnken | May 16, 2022
An interview with writer Jonathan Chait on the Democratic war over education reform
Jonathan Chait has been writing about the fraught politics of education reform for over a decade. The veteran political columnist for New York Magazine is a vigorous advocate for the pillars of liberal education reform: high academic standards, school choice, and test-based accountability for schools and teachers who aren’t meeting expectations. It was an outlook that largely...
By Kevin Mahnken | May 11, 2022
New research tracks charters’ early moves during pandemic
Sign up here for LA School Report’s newsletter. A new study suggests that charter schools heavily prioritized student engagement and instruction in the early days of the pandemic, with many navigating a quick transition to online learning and beginning to embrace a hybrid model by the beginning of the 2020-21 school year. This facile response,...
By Kevin Mahnken | February 17, 2022
Classroom observations biased against male, Black teachers, research suggests
Significant bias has contributed to lower classroom observation scores for thousands of teachers in Tennessee over the last decade, a study published in late December found. Even when controlling for differences in professional qualification and student testing performance, male and African American teachers were rated lower than their female and white colleagues. The paper is one...
By Kevin Mahnken | February 10, 2022
As schools push for more tutoring, new research points to its effectiveness — and the challenge of scaling it to combat learning loss
During the two years that COVID-19 has upended school for millions of families, education leaders have increasingly touted one tool as a means of compensating for lost learning: personalized tutors. As a growing number of state and federal authorities pledge to make high-quality tutoring available to struggling students, a new study demonstrates positive, if modest, results from...
By Kevin Mahnken | February 7, 2022
College Board announces streamlined, digital SAT as more universities go test-optional during pandemic
The SAT will be given to students virtually beginning next year, according to the College Board, the nonprofit organization that owns and administers the test. The change, revealed Tuesday morning, is designed to make the SAT easier to take during a period when hundreds of colleges and universities have dropped the test as an admissions...
By Kevin Mahnken | January 27, 2022
Oster study finds learning loss far greater in districts that went fully remote
What are the consequences of closing virtually every American school and shifting to online education for months at a time? It’s a question that education experts have been asking since the emergence of COVID-19, and one whose answers are gradually becoming clearer. With federal sources reporting that 99 percent of students have now returned to...
By Kevin Mahnken | January 13, 2022
New study shows reading remediation in middle school led more students to attend college and earn degrees
College remediation has earned a bad reputation over the past few years. Hopeful students spend billions of dollars annually to review material they should have mastered in high school, and a huge number never complete the coursework they are assigned. The fact that many undergraduates pay to attend catch-up classes when they are actually capable...
By Kevin Mahnken | January 5, 2022
Long-term NAEP scores for 13-year-olds drop for first time since testing began in 1970s — ‘a matter for national concern,’ experts say
Thirteen-year-olds saw unprecedented declines in both reading and math between 2012 and 2020, according to scores released this morning from the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). Consistent with several years of previous data, the results point to a clear and widening cleavage between America’s highest- and lowest-performing students and raise urgent questions about how...
By Kevin Mahnken | October 14, 2021