Learning loss or unfinished learning? ECRA Group releases preliminary findings on the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on student academic growth.
Schaumburg, IL (ECRA) – In a recent presentation to the Large Unit District Association (LUDA) in Illinois, Dr. John Gatta, CEO of ECRA Group, shared interim results of an ongoing research study being conducted by ECRA on the effects of the pandemic on student learning. ECRA is amongst the first firms nationally to release scientific evidence quantifying learning rates over the 15-month pandemic period that began in the Winter of 2020 and culminated in the Spring of 2021. While the results are preliminary, ECRA’s research suggests that despite considerable progress made by students during the pandemic, large unfinished learning gaps exist. When asked about the difference between learning loss and unfinished learning, Gatta said:
“ECRA prefers the term unfinished learning instead of learning loss as we believe it more accurately reflects the current evidence regarding learning rates during the pandemic. Our research gives reason for educators to be proud of what they have been able to accomplish against unprecedented challenges but be motivated by the fact that large unfinished learning gaps persist. We estimate there is 4 to 5 months of unfinished learning over the course of the pandemic period that must be recovered.”
According to ECRA’s research, unfinished learning is greater in mathematics than in reading.
Troublingly, the study also reveals what many have feared throughout the pandemic, that the effects of the pandemic have been far greater for certain student groups when compared to others. Specifically, that Black, Hispanic, Low-Income, and English Language Learners were amongst the student groups that were most negatively impacted by the pandemic.
When asked how school leaders can best approach academic growth recovery, Gatta said:
“Driving growth recovery will require a steadfast commitment from all educators to transparently and equitably address unfinished learning at the individual student and local district level. It is one thing to digest macro research findings, but addressing unfinished learning requires schools to replicate a similar study within their local school district to quantify how much unfinished learning exists for every student within their community. It is hard to build personalized growth recovery plans for students without knowing the extent of unfinished learning at the student level.”
ECRA’s research also suggests that school districts that held more in person school days over the pandemic period had less unfinished learning.
For more information, an abbreviated slide deck from Dr. Gatta’s LUDA presentation is available below and on the ECRA website. Please direct questions to Dr. Gatta via Twitter or at firstname.lastname@example.org.