Virtual School Meanderings

March 30, 2021

CDC Study: Association of Children’s Mode of School Instruction with Child and Parent Experiences and Well-Being During the COVID-19 Pandemic — COVID Experiences Survey, United States, October 8–November 13, 2020

I haven’t had the chance to read through this carefully yet,but I wanted to pass it along to readers.

Association of Children’s Mode of School Instruction with Child and Parent Experiences and Well-Being During the COVID-19 Pandemic — COVID Experiences Survey, United States, October 8–November 13, 2020

Jorge V. Verlenden, PhD1,2; Sanjana Pampati, MPH1,3; Catherine N. Rasberry, PhD1,2; Nicole Liddon, PhD1; Marci Hertz, MS1,2; Greta Kilmer, MS1; Melissa Heim Viox, MPH4; Sarah Lee, PhD2,5; Neha K. Cramer, MPH2,5; Lisa C. Barrios, DrPH1,2; Kathleen A. Ethier, PhD1

Summary

What is already known about the topic?

COVID-19–associated schooling changes present stressors to children and parents that might increase risks to mental health and well-being.

What is added by this report?

In a probability-based survey of parents of children aged 5–12 years, 45.7% reported that their children received virtual instruction only, 30.9% in-person only, and 23.4% combined virtual and in-person instruction. Findings suggest that virtual instruction might present more risks than does in-person instruction related to child and parental mental and emotional health and some health-supporting behaviors.

What are the implications for public health practice?

Children not receiving full-time, in-person instruction and their parents might need additional supports to mitigate pandemic impacts.

March 25, 2021

Report – Stride, Inc. Bucks National Trend and Provides Improved Student Outcomes During COVID-19: New Study Refutes Claims of Learning Loss in Online Programs

Filed under: virtual school — Michael K. Barbour @ 8:03 am
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So K12, Inc./Stride Inc. have produced their own “research” report that suggests that students attending programs offered by the for-profit company have experienced less learning loss than students attending remote learning programs offered by traditional brick-and-mortar schools.

Stride, Inc. Bucks National Trend and Provides Improved Student Outcomes During COVID-19: New Study Refutes Claims of Learning Loss in Online Programs

https://www.k12.com/content/dam/stride/meet-stride/Stride_NWEA_Performance_Covid_FN%20(006).pdf

The “COVID-Slide” Doesn’t Apply to Every Student

Educators, administrators, and parents across the country are committed to closing the learning loss gap an unfortunate trend that’s been exasperated by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Now referred to as the “COVID slide,” both private and public institutions are diligently focused on creating high-quality education solutions that help students catch up and stay engaged.

However, it’s important to note that some schools in particular, online schools powered by Stride K12 reported lower learning loss rates than those reported in national studies. In fact, in some cases, students enrolled in Stride K12-powered schools actually experienced learning gains.

In one such study, researchers at the Northwest Evaluation Association* (NWEA), show consistent levels of assessment performance in reading for all grades tested. However, student performance in mathematics dropped considerably during the COVID-19 pandemic. Students enrolled at Stride K12-powered schools, and who participate in one of NWEA’s growth assessments, did not experience the same level of learning loss as their peers. In fact, they were more likely to maintain or grow academically than to slide.

Study and Assessment Methods

NWEA’s MAP Growth is an innovative assessment used to measure achievement and growth in K–12 math, reading, language usage, and science. NWEA researchers used MAP Growth assessment results of nearly 4.5 million U.S. students in grades 3-7 when the pandemic began (and are now in grades 4-8) to observe the performance differences between Winter 2019 to Fall 2019 (subsequently referred to as “before the COVID-19 pandemic”) and Winter 2020 to Fall 2020 (subsequently referred to as “during the COVID-19 pandemic”) to understand the impact of the pandemic on learning progress.

As part of the study, NWEA researchers used multiple methods to assess learning loss. For example, in one analysis, NWEA researchers divided student performance into achievement quintiles or levels and tracked student performance between the categories of “before and during the COVID-19 pandemic.” The results helped determine the impact of COVID-19 on student assessment performance. In tracking these shifts in performance, NWEA placed students into three distinct categories:

1 Gainers – Students who moved up one or more achievement levels between testing periods.
2 Maintainers – Students who maintained the achievement level they were in between periods.
3 Sliders – Students who moved down one or more achievement levels.

Students at Stride K12-powered Schools Outperform National Trends

Internal researchers at Stride used the methodology identified in NWEA’s study to analyze data related to the pandemic’s impact on student performance in Stride K12-powered schools, compared to results identified in the NWEA study.

The study concluded that most students in Stride K12-powered schools identified as “Maintainers,” which means they did not experience significant learning loss or experience better than anticipated gains in learning. Learning progressed as normal for these students.

However, per the below chart, students enrolled in schools powered by Stride’s K12 programs significantly outperformed the national sample in the NWEA study. The percentage of students classified as “Sliders” decreased year-over-year during the pandemic in schools powered by Stride K12. Conversely, students classified as “Sliders” in the NWEA study increased year-over-year, particularly in mathematics. The percentage point difference between the national sample and Stride is particularly jarring with differences between the two groups ranging from 7.8 to 27.7 percentage points in mathematics and 1.7 to 12.7 percentage points in reading. This means that schools powered by Stride K12 have not only been successful in reducing learning loss during the pandemic, but they are also more successful in helping students maintain and even make learning gains.

It’s important to note that Stride K12-powered students were not completely sheltered from the impact of the pandemic. Like most students across the country, they wrestled with fears of contracting the virus and the additional stressors of sick or out-of-work loved ones.

Key Takeaways

  • Amid this unprecedented time, students at schools powered by Stride K12 were more likely to maintain their achievement level in both reading and mathematics than they were to slide backward.
  • Researchers concluded that the decreases in the “Sliders” category in both reading and mathematics during the pandemic is likely due to Stride’s experience and expertise in online learning and the company’s capacity to provide stable, continuous instruction throughout the pandemic.
  • Driven by the dedicated wraparound support services available to all students enrolled at Stride K12-powered schools, student engagement remains strong during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The results of this research highlight how the “COVID-slide”—feared by many school administrators and policymakers—has not been as significant among online students as first theorized.

What’s more, research on student NWEA performance, before and during the pandemic, has shown that students at schools powered by Stride K12 have increased their achievement levels.

These findings illustrate the reputability and capability of leading online schools to provide high-quality instruction to students of varying backgrounds amid the pandemic.

[Note that you need to access the actual report at https://www.k12.com/content/dam/stride/meet-stride/Stride_NWEA_Performance_Covid_FN%20(006).pdf to see the tables and images]

So let’s unpack this a bit…

A for-profit company that has been operating for 20 years provided a better full-time online learning model than traditional brick-and-mortar schools that had no experience in providing full-time online learning.

Forget about the fact that 20 years of research has also found that this for-profit company that has been operating for 20 years has also provided a sub-par learning model than traditional brick-and-mortar schooling again and again and again and again.

Also important to note that this wasn’t what was found in the Northwest Evaluation Association (NWEA) study, but what K12, Inc.’s/Stride Inc.’s own researchers found using a similar methodology.

December 30, 2020

CANeLearn Report – Stories from the Field: Voices of K-12 Stakeholders During Pandemic

Earlier this month the Canadian eLearning Network (CANeLearn) released their latest research report –  Stories from the Field: Voices of K-12 Stakeholders During Pandemic.  The executive summary of the report reads:

This report is third of three reports designed to chronicle how each province and territory in
Canada managed their response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The first report, Documenting
Triage: Detailing the Response of Provinces and Territories to Emergency Remote Teaching
report (Nagle, Barbour, & LaBonte, 2020), described how each jurisdiction managed their
emergency remote teaching during Spring 2020. The second report, A Fall Like No Other:
Between Basics and Preparing or an Extended Transition During Turmoil (Nagle, LaBonte, &
Barbour, 2020), outlined how each jurisdiction attempted to manage what should have been a
transition to remote teaching during Fall 2020. The goal of this third report, Stories from the
Field: Voices of K-12 Stakeholders During Pandemic, was to provide vignettes authored by
education stakeholders sharing their stories about what actually transpired in their homes,
schools, communities, and districts.

Sponsored by the Canadian eLearning Network (CANeLearn), a leading voice in Canada for
learner success in K-12 online and blended learning, this report highlights the announcements,
supports, and policy changes each Canadian jurisdiction made to continue to promote learning
throughout the pandemic. Information was gathered for each province and territory through
government websites, educational organizations, and current news releases. This information
highlighted each jurisdiction’s strategies to provide supports, resources, and technologies
appropriate for the continuation of teaching and learning. A website1 was created to host this
report series along with an archive of online workshop presentations based on each report.

In this report you will find the voices of key stakeholders within the K-12 online and blended
learning community across Canada as they provide descriptions of what actually happened on
the ground. Students, parents, teachers, school leaders, school trustees, and teacher-education
leaders from the post-secondary offer a glimpse of the impact of what the Ministries and
Departments of Education planned and announced in the Spring and Fall of 2020 for the safe
return of students to schools. For students, the lack of social interaction was a noted loss, for
parents their children’s physical, emotional, and mental health and their own, were worrisome at
best. Many describe the education offerings lacking and some sought their own solution.

Teachers, district and school leaders, even trustees, found the changing dynamic of the education
landscape overwhelming. Health protocols, physical distancing, masking, the number and flow
of people in the school building(s), and the social and emotional impact on staff and students was
almost impossible to manage. The range of stories from school leaders offers glimpses of success
in the development of new programs and the expansion of others. The stories of teachers reflect a
focus on physical, social, and emotional wellbeing first, curriculum second. As new models and
approaches emerge, post-secondary teacher education researchers are shining a light on what
effective practices provide options today and for the future beyond pandemic.

1 The website is available at https://sites.google.com/view/canelearn-ert/

The report is available at https://sgf.292.myftpupload.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/A-Fall-Like-No-Other-Part-2-canelearn-remote-teaching-report3.pdf

December 22, 2020

State of the Nation Special Report – Understanding Pandemic Pedagogy: Differences Between Emergency Remote, Remote, and Online Teaching

Yesterday we noticed this entry on the State of the Nation: K-12 e-Learning in Canada project website… Announcing Special Report – Understanding Pandemic Pedagogy: Differences Between Emergency Remote, Remote, and Online Teaching.

In the spring of 2020, the term ‘emergency remote teaching’ began to emerge to describe what was occurring in education at all levels, despite the more commonly used term “online learning” dominating media descriptions of the instruction offered to students forced to remain at home. Hodges et al. (2020) described emergency remote teaching as an attempt not “to re-create a robust educational ecosystem but rather to provide temporary access to instruction and instructional supports in a manner that is quick to set up and is reliably available during an emergency or crisis” (¶ 13).

As the new school year began, most education jurisdictions across Canada offered some combination of face-to-face, hybrid, and/or online instruction for students, including pre-existing online learning programs. Yet both designed and established online learning programs and the remote teaching offered by classroom teachers were still described by many as “online learning”, ignoring the clear differences between both instructional methods.

This report is a collection of revised works from other scholars, primarily focused on the higher education context, adapted for the K-12 sector. These works include a recent article that was published in EDUCAUSE Review entitled “The Difference Between Emergency Remote Teaching and Online Learning” (Hodges et al., 2020); as well as a number of blog entries from PhilOnEdTech blog (Hill, 2020; Kelly, 2020a, 2020b; Moore & Hill, 2020). Throughout the report, we have attempted to identify each of the sections that relied upon these sources.

Soon the COVID-19 threat will diminish, yet when it does we should not simply abandon remote teaching and return to our prior classroom-only practices without ensuring that we preserve the lessons of 2020 for future public health and safety issues. For example, in recent years school campuses have been closed due to natural disasters such as wildfires, hurricanes, earthquakes, and the polar vortex (Baytiyeh, 2018; Mackey et al., 2012; Samson, 2020; Watkins, 2005). As such, the possible need for remote teaching – in both emergency situations and more planned contexts – must become part of a teacher’s skill set.

This report argues the importance of avoiding equating emergency remote teaching with online learning. It is clear from most schools and teacher’s experience with emergency remote teaching that much more planning and deliberate attention be provided to teacher preparation, infrastructure, education policy, and resources to be able to maintain quality instructional continuity during a crisis. This report offers recommendations for how schools can be better prepared for future crises that incorporate both home-based and school-based learning opportunities mediated through online learning environments. While it is clear that schools remain a good place for children to be supported in their emotional growth and learning, with proper planning and good communication, homes and communities outside of school walls can be as well.

The report can be accessed at:

https://k12sotn.ca/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/understanding-pandemic-pedagogy.pdf

References

Baytiyeh, H. (2018). Online learning during post-earthquake school closures. Disaster Prevention and Management, 27(2), 215-227.

Hill, P. (2020, March 31). Revised outlook for higher ed’s online response to COVID-19. PhilOnEdTechhttps://philonedtech.com/revised-outlook-for-higher-eds-online-response-to-covid-19/

Hodges, C., Moore, S., Lockee, B., Trust, T., & Bond, A. (2020). The difference between emergency remote teaching and online learning. EDUCAUSE Review, 3https://er.educause.edu/articles/2020/3/the-difference-between-emergency-remote-teaching-and-online-learning

Kelly, K. (2020a, April 9). Traversing the edge of chaos: Phase 1 and 2 preparations for post COVID-19 world. PhilOnEdTechhttps://philonedtech.com/traversing-the-edge-of-chaos-phase-1-and-2-preparations-for-post-covid-19-world/

Kelly, K. (2020b, April 10). Traversing the edge of chaos: Phase 3 and 4 preparations for post COVID-19 world. PhilOnEdTech. https://philonedtech.com/traversing-the-edge-of-chaos-phase-3-and-4-preparations-for-post-covid-19-world/

Mackey, J., Gilmore, F., Dabner, N., Breeze, D., & Buckley, P. (2012). Blended learning for academic resilience in times of disaster or crisis. Journal of Online Learning and Teaching, 8(2), 122-135. https://jolt.merlot.org/vol8no2/mackey_0612.pdf

Moore, S., & Hill, P. (2020, April 28). Planning for resilience, not resistance. PhilOnEdTechhttps://philonedtech.com/planning-for-resilience-not-resistance/

Samson, P. (2020). The coronavirus and class broadcasts. EDUCAUSE Review, 3https://er.educause.edu/blogs/2020/3/the-coronavirus-and-class-broadcasts

Watkins, R. (2005). Distance education’s role in university disaster planning. Distance Learning, 2(6), 31-33.

December 18, 2020

CANeLearn Report – Stories from the Field: Voices of K-12 Stakeholders During Pandemic

The Canadian eLearning Network (CANeLearn) released their latest research report –  Stories from the Field: Voices of K-12 Stakeholders During Pandemic.  The executive summary reads:

This report is third of three reports designed to chronicle how each province and territory in
Canada managed their response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The first report, Documenting
Triage: Detailing the Response of Provinces and Territories to Emergency Remote Teaching
report (Nagle, Barbour, & LaBonte, 2020), described how each jurisdiction managed their
emergency remote teaching during Spring 2020. The second report, A Fall Like No Other:
Between Basics and Preparing or an Extended Transition During Turmoil (Nagle, LaBonte, &
Barbour, 2020), outlined how each jurisdiction attempted to manage what should have been a
transition to remote teaching during Fall 2020. The goal of this third report, Stories from the
Field: Voices of K-12 Stakeholders During Pandemic, was to provide vignettes authored by
education stakeholders sharing their stories about what actually transpired in their homes,
schools, communities, and districts.

Sponsored by the Canadian eLearning Network (CANeLearn), a leading voice in Canada for
learner success in K-12 online and blended learning, this report highlights the announcements,
supports, and policy changes each Canadian jurisdiction made to continue to promote learning
throughout the pandemic. Information was gathered for each province and territory through
government websites, educational organizations, and current news releases. This information
highlighted each jurisdiction’s strategies to provide supports, resources, and technologies
appropriate for the continuation of teaching and learning. A website1 was created to host this
report series along with an archive of online workshop presentations based on each report.

In this report you will find the voices of key stakeholders within the K-12 online and blended
learning community across Canada as they provide descriptions of what actually happened on
the ground. Students, parents, teachers, school leaders, school trustees, and teacher-education
leaders from the post-secondary offer a glimpse of the impact of what the Ministries and
Departments of Education planned and announced in the Spring and Fall of 2020 for the safe
return of students to schools. For students, the lack of social interaction was a noted loss, for
parents their children’s physical, emotional, and mental health and their own, were worrisome at
best. Many describe the education offerings lacking and some sought their own solution.

Teachers, district and school leaders, even trustees, found the changing dynamic of the education
landscape overwhelming. Health protocols, physical distancing, masking, the number and flow
of people in the school building(s), and the social and emotional impact on staff and students was
almost impossible to manage. The range of stories from school leaders offers glimpses of success
in the development of new programs and the expansion of others. The stories of teachers reflect a
focus on physical, social, and emotional wellbeing first, curriculum second. As new models and
approaches emerge, post-secondary teacher education researchers are shining a light on what
effective practices provide options today and for the future beyond pandemic.

1 The website is available at https://sites.google.com/view/canelearn-ert/

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