Flipboard EDU Podcast Episode 46: Is Learning Loss Real?

William Jeffery / May 10, 2021

Photo by Rich Legg via Getty Images 

Graduation is one of the most celebrated events in the American school system. Students, parents, teachers, and principals all look forward to the day when they can collectively celebrate the culmination of students’ learning. However, a new term has surfaced during the pandemic: learning loss — the loss of academic progress that may lead to students not graduating due to low test scores. 

Experts attribute learning loss to COVID-19 and the lack of instruction for some students from last March until June, and remote learning during the 20-21 school year. “Interestingly, there has been limited discussion on specifically what is being lost. Exactly what knowledge and skills have been lost? In some states, there are no statewide curricula,” educator Tommy Thompson writes in EducationWeek.“This means learning loss is different for each school district and varies even within school districts depending on how each teacher measures curricular attainment. No system exists that can accurately identify learning loss.”

Thompson’s observations beg the question: how is learning loss measured? And also: why aren’t the skills and knowledge students have gained during the pandemic measured? We all know that intelligence doesn’t always translate into a high test score, but during the pandemic, teachers have seen even their brightest students’ self-confidence negatively impacted by low scores. As the standardized testing season is in full swing some teachers are questioning why it is still necessary to test students. 

If standardized testing is not a good reflection of a student’s development and growth, and a growing number of colleges and universities are eliminating exam requirements, are there other factors that are driving standardized testing in education? A there is a  surprising connection to the real estate market and standardized testing in education. Real Estate firms heavily rely on data from tests to sell and construct homes across the country. This connection is believed by some educators as a driving force to continue accountability ratings for high-stakes testing.

For this episode, we spoke with educators Francis Perdue, Tiffany Wiley, and Laura Jeffery on Clubhouse about learning loss, its connection to the pandemic, standardized testing, real estate, and other factors. We also discussed what skills students need to gain in order to be successful.

—William Jeffery is curating Flipboard EDU Podcast

Coach Jeffery” is an award-winning digital learning educator and assistant principal at Columbia High School in Texas. His tech pedagogy continues to drive him to curate educational content on Flipboard that highlights teaching strategies, edtech, and ways to improve student success. He hosts the “Flipboard EDU Podcast” as yet another way to share resources with peers.