Teachers Get Ready To Close Learning Gap

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The results are in and state data shows students who attended school in-person did better academically than those who were remote or hybrid. The results won’t be held against school districts, but teachers are now looking at how they can make up the difference this school year.

“We’re not crazy to have felt this way. And we’re not crazy to have said going into the second year to think differently. Think strategically and be more honest about what works and what doesn’t,” Kate Dias, president of the Connecticut Education Association and a high school math teacher, said. 

Dias said the test results released by the state Wednesday confirm what she and her colleagues already knew. 

“Listen, if we want kids to be successful learners they need to be in school,” Dias said. 

State test results found third through eighth-graders who were hybrid or remote fell behind in both English and math. 

But Dias says it doesn’t matter where the kids are or how they got there. 

“I’m incredibly confident in my colleagues' ability to meet kids where they are and move them. That’s what we are trained to do,” she added. 

The biggest gap was in math.

“Not everything translates to a virtual experience perfectly,” Irene Parisi, chief performance officer at the Connecticut Education Department, said. 

The test results for third through eighth graders found roughly half of learners were proficient in math compared to about a fifth of remote students. 

“Translating mathematics to that virtual space wasn’t perfect,” Parisi said.  

Luckily the results won’t count against teacher and program evaluations, or funding.

The state asked the federal Education Department to pause accountability even though testing resumed after a year hiatus. 

Schools are using $110 million in federal funds to help with the learning gaps. 

“Kids come to us as they come to us every year. This concept of gaps or what have you, maybe it’s exacerbated in the sense that there may be a wider spread of children who have had challenges last year,” Dias said. 

But she said it’s a teacher's job to meet them where they are. 

“Every year a teacher walks into their room and looks at the beautiful faces of the children and sees who they are today and says where are we going to have you at the end of this year,” she said. 

“Kids are what they are and so today they are where they are and it’s going to be our job to move them,” she added.

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