District leaders: Do your students practice accelerated learning?

K-12 students are falling behind academically, especially in math. New research suggests leaving remediated instruction in the past.

The impact COVID-19 has had on student learning is profound. 33% of public schools reported that 0 to 25% of their students finished below grade level, according to the latest survey results from the Institute of Education Sciences’ 2022 School Pulse Panel.

Districts are allocating resources provided by federal programs, like the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund, to help close the gap in learning loss.

One subject that students are particularly falling behind in is math. Data released in July by NWEA, a research-based non-profit organization that creates assessments for pre-K-12 students, revealed a decline in math-related academic achievement (5 to 10%) among 3-8 grade students in the 2021-22 school year, despite early signs of progress

However, new research suggests that accelerated learning can be the key to helping students successfully complete more grade-level math assignments.

39% of all public schools used accelerated instruction in the 2021-22 school year, according to the School Pulse Panel data. Additionally, 25% of all public schools say accelerated instruction is “very effective.” 4% say it’s “extremely effective.”

Zearn, a math learning platform, released a report this week highlighting the benefits of accelerated learning compared to remediated learning.

Key findings

  • Students struggled 17% less in math when they practiced accelerated learning vs. remediated learning.
  • Students who underwent consistent accelerated learning successfully completed twice as many grade-level lessons compared to students who underwent consistent remediated learning.
  • Schools with a majority population of Black, Latino or low-income students are more likely to be remediated, even after they successfully completed grade-level assignments.
  • Students enrolled in schools with a majority population of Black, Latino or low-income students struggle 19% less in math when they practice accelerated learning.


The report concludes with several suggestions for districts to consider:

  • Use core instructional materials that make it easier for teachers to practice accelerated learning.
  • Prioritize technology designed for acceleration, not remediation.
  • Give students access to high-impact instructional time if they’re struggling with math.
  • Support teachers by giving them comprehensive and professional knowledge to facilitate accelerated learning.

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Micah Ward
Micah Wardhttp://districtadministration.com
Micah Ward is a District Administration staff writer. He recently earned his master’s degree in Journalism at the University of Alabama. He spent his time during graduate school working on his master’s thesis. He’s also a self-taught guitarist who loves playing folk-style music.

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