How schools return to accountability post-COVID

Students and parents must understand what counts as attending class and how grades will be determined during online learning
By: | September 10, 2020
District leaders reopening with in-person instruction are working quickly to administer assessments to measure learning loss over concerns schools might have to close again. (GettyImages/RichVintage)District leaders reopening with in-person instruction are working quickly to administer assessments to measure learning loss over concerns schools might have to close again. (GettyImages/RichVintage)

Grades and attendance are among the key accountability and assessment methods likely to return this school year, even in districts continuing with remote learning,  the testing nonprofit, NWEA, says.

In interviews with 22 leaders from a variety of districts, administrators said it would be critical to make learning expectations clear to students and their parents, according to”Education in the time of COVID-19: From crisis learning to a new normal.”

First, students and parents must understand what counts as attending class and how grades will be determined during remote and online learning, the leaders surveyed said.

At least one district has standards for how and when parents will receive communications from educators while other administrators have sought set limits on when teachers can contact students.


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These district leaders also said it was important to measure learning loss that occurred during the spring COVID closures through they lacked the end-of-year assessment data they would’ve gathered in a normal year.

Leaders reopening with in-person instruction also said they worried schools might have to close again and were therefore working quickly to administer assessments.

“Their goal was to get good information on each students’ learning needs as early as they could to inform the instructional plans for each student,” the report says.

These leaders were concerned that students taking assessments remotely could be disrupted by family interference and technical problems.

They also worried data from remote testing wouldn’t be comparable to data from on-site assessments.

“Except for a couple of exceptions, all the district leaders shared their preference for administering the assessment on-site if possible but a willingness to administer assessments remotely if necessary,” the report says. “One district used test scores for high stakes decisions and therefore was understandably not open to anything but a highly secured, on-site testing environment.


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DA’s coronavirus page offers complete coverage of the impacts on K-12.