Are Children Being Left Behind?

Achievement gaps already exist even before school closures due to COVID-19. With online learning, it is our obligation to check if these gaps are increasing. With great likelihood, learning is probably even more skewed at this point. The data are not yet available but schools at this point may already have rough numbers on attendance and participation. My son's algebra class may provide a brief glimpse of the current situation. He is currently enrolled in Algebra I in a middle school where only about one in four students is enrolled in this course. Here is an update I have just received from his teacher.

During the first couple of weeks, just with this class, the average score is less than fifty percent. During the past week, the class average has reached 90%. My son is ahead in this class since we have been working on these topics before the county's online learning commenced. The first two topics are foundational work on solving quadratic equations while vertical motion is applied. This application makes use of acceleration due to gravity to setup a quadratic equation. Although encouraging, one must keep in mind that this is a very small snapshot of the current situation. Four in five students in this school are not enrolled in this class and their current situation is unknown to me. We could only hope that they have likewise caught up with the material. More than ever, we need assessments to help inform us of where our students are.