Tool Calculates How Much Money Schools Need To Spend To Make Up For Pandemic Learning Loss

A learning loss calculator has been developed to determine how much money schools require in order to make up for the lack of learning.

By Jessica Marie Baumgartner | Published

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learning loss calculator

Learning gaps grew exponentially during lockdowns. While teachers’ unions pressured the CDC to advise schools to close and remain closed for as long as possible, students suffered. Their mental health fell into crisis due to isolation and fear-mongering, and underprivileged students experienced the most learning loss of all schoolchildren. Now that the data is proving just how damaging excessive pandemic protocols were, a learning loss calculator has been developed to determine just how much money schools require in order to make up for the lack of learning students experienced, in order to help them catch up.

The 74 created the learning loss calculator which helps districts to decipher how much money would need to be budgeted in order to fill in learning gaps. Designed to incorporate student demographics, data, and the form of lessons being taught, this calculator estimates learning loss levels, funds needed to combat this, and even, how the amount of Elementary and Secondary Emergency Relief (ESSR) funds available for this purpose. Although not 100% accurate it provides a clearer picture for struggling schools that are in need of direction.

Schools that placed students on remote learning for longer periods have experienced the worst learning gaps. Many of these schools are in low-income areas, and poverty levels also affected student learning loss. Black and hispanic students living in low-income areas were the hardest hit. Ensuring that they receive a proper education, and graduate on their original timeline is a common goal that will take much time and effort, but can this learning loss calculator properly solve the problem?

Programs to provide tutoring and additional community support have been developed all over the nation. ESSR funds have been spent on community outreach to aid minorities, but this does not combat more pressing issues like chronic absenteeism and the ongoing teacher shortage. If students are missing multiple days of school, and teaching vacancies are not filled, no amount of money can properly impart knowledge onto children. 

Offering more pay, better benefits, and even hefty bonuses has not aided districts throughout the teacher shortage. What has drawn experienced staff are flexible schedules that give students and teachers more free time, utilizing the still experimental 4-day school week. Student work programs have also peaked interest and encouraged students to come to class. While the learning loss calculator speaks to the “money talks” crowd, it seems that alternative teaching methods are more successful at engaging students and teachers post-pandemic. 

learning loss calculator

Even so, laying out a proper budget to make the necessary changes is the first step to ensuring that students’ needs are met. Whether the funding is properly utilized beyond that is up to school officials. The education crisis is clearly growing and in order to make up for learning loss and provide students with engaging lessons that fill in the gaps, the learning loss calculator has the potential to guide struggling schools through yet another year rife with unprecedented challenges linked to lockdown fallout. Many are eager to increase student success rates, and so any resources possible are welcome.