Broad-Based Academic Supports For All Students

Heather Hill | Harvard University
Kathleen Lynch | Annenberg Institute at Brown University

Breaking Down the Issue

  • For children meeting academic benchmarks before the shutdown, slowdowns through September will not be catastrophic. However, delayed openings or shutdowns combined with weak remote learning offerings in the fall may set students’ learning back significantly.
  • In order to move students through grade-level content, schools will need to lean heavily on tiered strategies that include broad-based supports for all students and intensive intervention for students who have felt the pandemic’s impacts most directly.

Strategies to Consider

  • Face-to-face instruction is particularly important for early elementary students.
  • Targeted support strategies for families, such as take-home books, text messages, and family involvement programs, can effectively supplement in-school curriculum.
  • Teaching grade-level content to all students in the fall, while identifying students needing special support, can help students remain on track.
  • Scheduled time for teachers to communicate across grade-level teams and efforts to maximize instructional time can help students catch up while avoiding redundancy.
  • Teacher looping structures that keep students and teachers together for more than one academic year seem to be beneficial, but the evidence is thin, and large-scale shifts would require teachers to learn new content across multiple grade levels.

Strategies to Avoid

  • Large-scale, standardized testing is unlikely to yield results quickly enough and/or at a grain size that teachers can use to plan instruction.
  • Remediation programs that supplant regular instruction are likely to prevent students from learning new, grade-level content.