3 resources to improve math teaching & learning during COVID-19
The COVID-19 pandemic forced districts across the globe to close their schools in an effort to keep students, faculty and staff safe. While prudent, the move negatively affected teaching and learning overall as teachers scrambled to transition to online learning and provide alternatives for students who did not have a web-enabled device and/or access to the internet.
COVID-19 is expected to have especially impacted the student learning of mathematics more so than other subjects. In comparison to normal conditions, students will most likely return to school this fall with less than 50% of learning gains and, in some grades, nearly a full year behind in math, according to the NWEA, a not-for-profit organization that provides assessments and reports for students and educators.
Regardless of whether districts choose to reopen their schools, continue distance learning or adopt a hybrid model, educators and K-12 leaders need a plan on how to recover the learning lost during these closures, improve policies and procedures in the event of a similar outbreak and continue providing high-quality education in this current environment.
Here are three useful resources for education leaders, teachers and policy makers to strengthen the teaching and learning of mathematics during the era of COVID-19.
Moving Forward: Mathematics learning in the era of COVID-19
WHO: The National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM), the world’s largest organization dedicated to improving math in preK-12, partnered with NCSM: Leadership in Mathematics Education, the premier leadership organization for leaders in K-12 and higher ed who influence student learning of mathematics.
WHAT: This 18-page document shares how to ensure equitable access to learning by not isolating or labeling students, and to create looping and co-teaching models to support teachers. Readers will learn why and how to determine essential learning practices, student strengths, what students know now and what should be taught next.
The document also reveals what education leaders need to consider when advocating for and making decisions about policy and budgets, assessment practices, and professional learning and collaboration.
Other helpful information includes NCTM’s eight equitable mathematics teaching practices and more highlighted resources for further reading.
Return to Learn program
WHO: Stanford Professor Jo Boaler, along with three other math experts, co-authored the initial report “We’re in this together: Supporting high-quality math teaching in uncertain times”. In addition, Scott Baldridge and eight math curriculum experts identified the ‘big ideas’ for all grades in the curriculum documents for the US Common Core, Texas, Ontario, BC, and the Western Provinces. These leaders in education contributed to the creation of the various components of this program in collaboration with Knowledgehook, an instructional guidance system for math teachers in grades 1-10.
WHAT: The Return to Learn Program is a combination of a report, curriculum analysis, and leadership series to help schools return to learning and improve education overall.
The report features recommendations to improve technology, assessments, curricula and pedagogies along with the ways in which to implement them effectively.
The analysis reveals how to identify essential learning in previous grades to ensure success as students progress towards graduation.
The leadership series provides free access to a community of education experts to create, learn and share successes.
Addressing unfinished learning after COVID-19 school closures
WHO: The Council of the Great City Schools, an organization of 76 large city school districts that strives to improve education in inner cities, received insight and expertise from the director of the Center for Mathematics Excellence and Equity (CeMEE) at the University of California, Berkeley, and a lead writer of the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics, among other key professionals.
WHAT: Addressing Unfinished Learning After COVID-19 School Closures reviews essential skills and content to improve access to learning when students transition to higher grades and newer topics in mathematics as well as English language arts. The document also provides six strategies for addressing unfinished learning overall.
Readers will learn how to focus on the depth of instruction rather than the pace, prioritize content and learning, ensure inclusion for every learner, address gaps in learning through instruction rather than the misuse of standardized testing, and capitalize on commonalities rather than differences.
Included are color-coded conceptual maps that visualize the complexity of transitioning from Algebra 1 to Geometry, for example.