COVID-19 Learning Loss
Multiplying the Impact of Math Catch-up
school education is accumulative, building on whatever instruction
came during the prior grade. One year you’re learning polynomials,
the next how to graph them, while social studies gradually becomes
more nuanced and comprehensive. So, what happens when a break occurs
in the educational track? Across the nation, despite teachers’ best
efforts, students are suffering from the impact of a year of online
learning, and it’s crucial to recoup that lost training and
engagement before the chance is lost forever.
for many children, the turbulence and uncertainty of the past
eighteen months have resulted in a lack of excitement around studying
and learning more generally. Studies point to a condition called
“math anxiety” in young students, which hampers their abilities
and ultimately discourages them from pursuing STEM subjects and
related careers. A short break in a student’s learning
can be a disproportionate blow to their education.
is not only the break from classroom learning that is impacting math
anxiety, but also the pressure to catch-up that is putting children
through more stress.
conducted by the Programme for International Student Assessment
(PISA) suggest that students who suffer from math anxiety and/or
phobia, have scores that are up to 34 points lower than their
counterparts. In real terms, this anxiety translates to one full year
of school. The implications of poor math skills are sadly not
confined to childhood though, with a report
by Pro Bono Economics finding that adults who lack confidence and
capability with numbers are estimated to be less well of than those
with good numeracy skills. Andreas Schleicher, Director for Education
and Skills at the OECD, argues that “good numeracy is the best
protection against unemployment, low wages and poor health.”
how can teachers help more fearful students overcome their current
gap in development and potential math-related anxieties? Most
importantly of all, students have to become comfortable with failure,
and accepting that they are on a journey which won’t always involve
them having the right answer. By tapping into their imagination and
creativity, learners will be able to build a more positive attitude
towards math. Less formal methods, such as learning through play or
game-based exercises, are great steps at reducing pressure on
students and allowing them to express themselves more freely.
is a fragile thing, and its preservation should be the priority of
any learning institution. Companies are emerging with the express
goal of making this task –– addressing the past year’s
disruption –– into a fun and engaging experience. We are one
such company providing game-based instructions in math and reading.
it comes to re-engaging young students, a little freedom goes a long
idea is to use this current situation to get parents more involved in
their children’s learning. But
with a survey by National Numeracy finding
that nearly three in five parents found math the hardest subject to
help their children with during school closures due to the pandemic,
many moms and dads can find it difficult to know where to start with
math learning resources that can be used in class and at home allow
the child to learn independently through fun games, while their
parents are kept in the loop through a Parent Dashboard and weekly
reports, which let them keep track of their child’s progress and
the areas they’re struggling with.
student who is left to find the answers on their own will ultimately
come out of the experience well-versed in the priceless skill of
self-teaching, not to mention they will be adept at researching
past year’s events have left students reeling, forced to find their
footing in a global pandemic while keeping up with their studies.
While nominally this generation has fallen behind in some areas, they
will undoubtedly emerge from the pandemic as more worldly,
self-sufficient, and resilient individuals.
Deep Nath is co-founder of SplashLearn. SplashLearn’s
catchup courses for students in Grade 3-5 include Math Adventure, Math
Refresher Courses and ELA Adventure. The courses also address thesocio-emotional gap experienced by so many children who haven’t
been able to spend time with their friends and classmates.