As COVID-19’s impact on education extends into a third year, the nation’s growing concern over accumulated student learning loss is more acute than ever.
The common catch-up strategy in the U.S. has been to remediate: work backwards to teach students what they missed. However, there is compelling evidence that it isn’t the best approach.
“Remediation doesn’t work,” says David Steiner, executive director of the Johns Hopkins Institute for Education Policy. “In fact, it has done damage by locking students into long-term learning gaps that worsen each year. They never catch up.”
Steiner, a former New York state education commissioner, is at the forefront of a growing community of education strategists who advocate acceleration. “We must figure out and pre-teach just those critical skills and knowledge students must have in hand to prepare them for their grade-level lessons,” he says. “We cannot try to teach them all that they missed in the past—we have to let that go.”
Steiner made headlines recently when UNESCO and the World Bank, surveying global learning loss, asked him to present on acceleration strategies. He also has discussed the idea for the Washington Post, the Financial Times, and other platforms.
Acceleration requires trade-offs, he cautions. Educators must be prepared to reorganize school time and the use of school personnel to support accelerated learning. But the alternative may be much costlier.
We must figure out and pre-teach just those critical skills and knowledge students must have in hand to prepare them for their grade-level lessons.
David Steiner, PhD
Executive director, Johns Hopkins Institute for Education Policy
As a new school year begins, Johns Hopkins education experts stress the high value of in-person learning balanced by mitigating community spread of the virus.
AFTER A PANDEMIC, ACCELERATE, DON’T REMEDIATE
The Institute for Education Policy’s David Steiner is on a nationwide campaign to get schools to forgo hindsight-oriented remediation to repair learning gaps. Instead, he says, “accelerate” learning for what lies ahead.
EDUCATION IN FOCUS
David Steiner has concerns about the potential damage caused by a slow return to in-person classes, citing Rhode Island, where schools never fully closed. “Respect the science,” he says. “We can reopen with modest, sensible precautions.”
BACK FROM THE EDGE
David Steiner, executive director of the Johns Hopkins Institute for Education Policy, tells the First Things podcast that the path back from the educational precipice is within reach — we simply have to teach better and use better materials.
Struggling Baltimore students will not have to repeat a year lost to the pandemic. David Steiner tells The Baltimore Sun it is the right approach. Don’t remediate, he says, teach them for tomorrow.
HOW AMERICA EDUCATION CAN PLAY CATCH-UP
David Steiner tells The Washington Post that the key to catching kids up from the learning loss of the year of COVID is a program of accelerated learning that asks not, “What did they miss?”, but rather, “What do they need for next week?”
ADDRESSING LEARNING LOSS THROUGH ACCELERATION: A CONVERSATION WITH DAVID STEINER
In February 2021, David Steiner addressed the National Association of State Boards of Education on strategies that exacerbate achievement gaps and those that are a good investment to accelerate learning.
ACCELERATED LEARNING: A PRESENTATION TO THE DELAWARE DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION
David Steiner presented information about accelerated learning strategies to Delaware’s State Board of Education and its Department of Education as the state recently moved to develop accelerated support for students.
INSTITUTE FOR EDUCATION POLICY
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