The road ‘back to school’ has been a long and uncertain one but it appears that soon all students might be back at school again.
Some students have not been to school for as long as 4 months or more. Some, started again after 2 months of hard lockdown, only to be told that they had to stay home again, while many have been back for a while, but only attend two or three days a week.
During this time, some international researchers have been doing some very interesting work on the potential impact on student school achievement, of long periods away from school. They refer to it as the ‘Covid-19 slide’ i.e. the potential decline in academic school results (i.e.what the curriculum requires) that we can expect as students return to school. They particularly looked at Maths and Reading gains, predicting that many students will likely be returning with roughly 70% of the reading gains they might have made under normal circumstances, and up to less than 50% in Maths. In some grades, they predict that maths declines could be up to nearly a full year behind the progress they might have made in a normal year.
In sharing this research they are encouraging everyone involved i.e. parents, teachers, officials etc., not to just expect all students to pick up from where they left off in curriculum knowledge and skills, but to be aware of, and sensitive to, these possible declines and student differences, as we teach and assess going forward.
As parents, let’s not panic or pressurise our children but rather take them from where they are and give them all the loving help, patience and support they need at this time. Let’s remember that, during this time they have continued to learn informally, and that pressure to ‘catch up’ can cause anxiety and impede, rather than improve their thinking and progress.
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Contact Beryl on +27 (0)33 343 1017 or +27 (0)82 457 4031.