Did My Child Fall Behind in School During COVID-19

We are thrilled to see our school-aged children return to the classroom where optimal learning occurs! Parents, many of whom have become “resident teachers” over the past 12 months, can begin to breathe a sigh of relief as their children receive “real life” instruction from professional educators. However, the fact remains that an academic regression has occurred and the long-term impact of our children receiving “distance learning” for over a year is unknown.

However, recent studies are already raising the alarm on the issue of “learning loss” – the idea that students have learned less during the pandemic than in prior years. Emerging research shows significant setbacks in reading, especially in oral reading fluency (ORF). See the PACE study, “Changing Patterns of Growth in Oral Reading Fluency During the COVID-19 Pandemic” (Dr. Benjamin Dominigue, Stanford University, March 21, 2021).

Not surprisingly, the most frequently asked question from our clients is, “How far behind is my child in school?”

The most important thing that parents can do is to have their child assessed in reading. All schools – public or private – measure and track children’s reading levels. In fact, there are a multitude of assessments that schools use to measure a student’s reading performance and, therefore, it is completely appropriate for parents to ask their child’s classroom teacher how he/she is performing in reading comprehension. Or, if parents are unsatisfied with a school’s response or seek a more comprehensive analysis, they can find a highly-qualified reading specialist who will be able to perform this assessment and provide parents with an objective summary. Once parents determine their child’s reading level, finding an appropriate book for him/her to enjoy is much easier and more enjoyable!

By Tim Kusserow

Tim Kusserow, a third generation Santa Monica resident, has been an elementary school teacher, principal, and head of school for the past 25 years. He is the CEO/Founder of Kusserow Consulting and works with parents, school leaders, NPOs, and businesses as an educational advisor and parenting coach. Tim is at www.kusserowconsulting.com

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