Educators address ‘learning loss’ among New York’s student population

Classroom Progress Report

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — As the start of school nears for most local school districts, one concern is how students are going to make up for lost learning time. Some students have spent up to 18 months outside of a traditional classroom.

Susan Steron, director of Sylvan Learning, said one of the biggest impacts of learning loss has been in math and reading for younger grade levels. “That’s really the foundation of all learning, and that’s where you’re going to see I think the biggest impact for years to come.”

Steron said it is possible to amend learning loss, as she has seen students make quick progress through tutoring. “The good thing is that students are very resilient and with the right type of instruction that addresses their needs, they can catch back up which is great.” 

In classes, this instruction could look like working in small groups with teachers. “A lot of those kids need that more-personalized individual kind of one-on-one touch with the teachers in order to kind of gain some of the strategies that they might have lost, or may not have acquired over this past school year,” said Steron.

But, some students won’t have the luxury of individualized learning. “What we worry about is the kids that haven’t gotten that support—and the amount of frustration they may be facing.” And that frustration can lead to students shutting down, acting out, becoming less receptive to learning, and ultimately retaining less information.

To amend this, Steron said that patience and optimism will work best. “It’s going to take a little bit of time, but if we tread lightly with kids, build up their confidence, get them feeling good about themselves as learners, then you’re really going to see that gap close a lot quicker.”

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