How has the year of online learning and interrupted academic work impacted our students?
It seems like another lifetime ago. COVID-19 started to get coverage in the news in late 2019, but most people didn’t give it much thought. After all, we’d had swine flu and bird flu scares that didn’t impact us much, so why worry about one more? Then, in the early spring of 2020, everything changed. Schools closed their doors with teachers and administrators scrambling to react. And everyone became far more acquainted with online learning than ever before.
“She just didn’t do well with online learning.”
But what has been the impact of the seismic shift in learning that ran its course over the past year? Anecdotally, the biggest effect we’ve seen is that many students now have significant gaps in their skill base. While some students (and school systems) adapted well to the new normal, many did not. The most common complaint we’ve heard from parents over the last school year and into the summer has been, “My student didn’t like doing classes online.” The online format–whether over Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Google Meet, or another platform–can be a real asset when used effectively, but many students focus and achieve more when their learning is in person.
Math has been the most significant skill gap
Of all the students’ subjects that have been affected by the months of COVID protocols, math stands out. At the end of the 2019-2020 school year, districts were scrambling to create an online curriculum–much of which ended up being a glorified year-in-review. With the ongoing COVID absences, contact tracing, and instability many students experienced, the overall math competency suffered most. Most of the parents seeking academic support for their students throughout this school year were focused squarely on math.
Math is often the area of most concern for students and parents in a normal year, but students’ reactions to online learning only exacerbated the usual issues.
Tutoring can be a solution
Fortunately, students can get the help they need to maintain and excel. Working with a tutor can help a student work through the concepts they may not have understood in the classroom, complete their assignments, and prepare for exams.