Tackling COVID-19 ‘ – In Belgium where schools were closed

In Belgium, where schools were closed for three months in 2020, the last year of primary education saw learning losses in both math and Dutch, especially in schools with disadvantaged student populations. The initial school closure between March and June 2020 led to an extended period of one-time homeschooling, followed by a new blended learning experience, reinforced by extended vacations through 2021, all of which will have a profound impact on student learning and create new priorities for the 2021 “major reorientation.” The first study of the September 2020 reading test score trends found that compared to the previous three years, reading accuracy, reading fluency, and comprehension, second-year students and juniors were consistently worse off in these three areas and on average 6-8 months behind their high school counterparts. A summary of a McKinsey & Company study published in December 2020 gave more reliable estimates of potential overall learning losses by the end of the school year in June 2021. They do this regularly to examine trends in inflated grades, such as students in some high schools who routinely score lower than they “should” get in 1st grade university courses. For black American students, the average loss in math proficiency ranges from six months to one year. While the initial worst-case scenarios of NEA have been avoided, cumulative learning losses can still be significant, especially in math, where students will accumulate an average of five to nine months of learning loss by the end of the year. Professor Georgiou’s second study, funded by Albert Security, followed 1,000 first-year students who completed various reading assignments from September 2019 to February 2019. It’s hard to find comparable Canadian research on knowledge loss, and the national media reporting on faculty research programs focuses on the impact on student well-being rather than evidence of knowledge loss. A baseline assessment of 7th graders’ writing in Britain, where schools were closed for two months, showed that students regressed. In American states and Canadian provinces, a clearer picture is beginning to emerge of a “VOCID-19 slide” that hinders learning for all students, but especially students from disadvantaged, racialized, and marginalized communities. Looking ahead, it is time to consider the profound implications of the VOCID-19 attack on the “pandemic generation” of students and educators who will have to adapt to the unexpected “changes” that occur in the transition from one way of learning to another, which amounts to “a little more, a little less” in the regular classroom. Exciting innovations can wait as the shaken system needs stabilizers, socioeconomic disparities are widening, and students need help to start learning anew and catch up after the pandemic. I know it’s not apples to apples, as many students switched to e-learning when it was still full-time. Universities monitor the academic performance of high school students for comparison with freshmen.