Reading software online study shows growing success gap



Reading software online study shows growing success gap

Recent research from the NWEA predicted a significant decline in student learning, especially in math, but also in reading. A new study has found that the learning loss for new readers could reach 28% by June 1, 2020 and up to 49% by the end of the summer. This is the first study published on the current and projected impact of closures on learning using actual performance measures before and after U.S. schools close from COVID-19, research organizers say. .

The study was based on data provided by Achieve3000, a reading platform that measures student performance using algorithms linked to the Lexile framework. Researchers included the Success Practices Network (SPN), the Center for College & Career Readiness, and Achieve3000. The nonprofit SPN provides schools with resources and assistance to be successful by design. The nonprofit Center for College and Career Preparation aims to maximize individual learner engagement through the use of neuroscience. Achieve3000 is an educational technology company that produces literacy programs.

The project analyzed real-time data from 1.6 million students in 1,364 districts, all of whom were receiving distance education. The researchers found that students are on track to lose nearly half (49%) of their potential growth in reading by the start of the 2020-2021 school year.

On top of that, the achievement gap between students in low- and high-income schools could widen to 18% in the worst-case scenario.

Other findings included these:

  • 76 percent of schools showed decreased use of the reading program after closing; the overall number of students who logged in fell by 43% and the share who completed at least one lesson fell by 44%.

  • Struggling readers are expected to fall an additional six percent behind their peers.

  • Some districts are successful with online learning. In about 24 percent of school systems, program use was “close or equivalent” to use before the schools closed.

In the figure here, the solid blue line represents the actual growth in active users of the Achieve3000 software before the schools closed. The solid gray line shows the expected growth for students who were not using the literacy program. The dotted blue line shows the potential growth that could be achieved had the schools not been forced to close. The yellow-orange dotted line shows “stunted growth” for non-active users after schools close. The red dotted line shows the expected stopping growth for students who do not participate in a literacy program during school closings. The green dotted line shows the potential summer slide. The two vertical bars to the right show the “potential unrealized gain,” how much students will lose between the combination of school closings (the first bar) and the summer slide (the second bar).

The report offered a number of recommendations for educators, based on the trends.


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