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Research shows some students falling behind due to pandemic

Published: Sep. 3, 2021 at 6:53 PM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - Over the last school year students bounced back and forth between online learning and in-person learning. Now, research is showing the effects of all those changes in routing.

The research, from Michigan State University’s Education Policy Innovation Collaborative (EPIC) found that Michigan students’ learning gains were slower last school year.

Katharine Strunk is Director of EPIC.

“These students have gone through a lot,” Strunk said. “Kids haven’t been in school some of them for 18 months in person so they’re going to have to come back and relearn the structures and have to learn how to feel safe in school. There’s going to be a big learning curve for them.”

More than 3,000 students were identified as needing to repeat the 3rd grade. Strunk says annual proficiency tests show they missed critical learning opportunities.

Strunk also told News 10 that the pandemic added to the existing disparities between lower and higher income school districts.

“This isn’t a new picture of inequity these are the same disparities that we’ve been seeing in years’ past,” she said. “The disparities aren’t because of the pandemic; the disparities have been accentuated because of the pandemic.”

Lansing Schools are working to give one on one attention to students who are struggling, hoping extra learning time will help them get back on track.

“For the first week of school we do something unique half days for our kindergarteners and the afternoon we have our teachers meeting one on one with students and their families and do some testing and find out exactly where their students are and then create an individualized learning program to meet them where they are,” said Assistant Superintendent of Lansing Schools, Jessica Benavides.

Lansing Schools say they have a plan for all age groups of students to get the help they need. Some teachers are wearing see through masks to help improve students learning retention. The schools are also bringing in outside help to provide support.

“A lot of our elementary schools and high schools you will find interventionists that work with students on reading and math and other areas they need extra support or individualized instruction,” said Benavides.

Strunk says this isn’t a quick fix but hopes to see growth this school year.

“We want to see progress happening in 2021 and 2022 school year... however I don’t think this is a challenge that is going to be overcome in just one school year,” said Strunk.

Lansing School administrators say they are always looking for educators who want to help students one and one. They encourage students who are struggling to reach out to their teachers or principal to find a learning alternative that works for them.

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