Bounce Back: Tools to Address Pandemic Learning Lags

Across the country, families and students look toward the upcoming school year with a combination of hopefulness, excitement, and uncertainty.

At Green Ivy, we’ve seen that many teens and children are thrilled by the idea of being back on campus with their friends, communities, and teachers. At the same time, families express nervousness about whether students are academically ready to go back to “real school” after a year and a half in remote- or hybrid-learning models.

We know students’ mental, emotional and social wellness is of the utmost importance. Allowing students time to rest, explore, and be curious helps them build their own motivation during this transitional time. It’s also important to keep in mind that, due to the pandemic, many students have had truncated school experiences that led to remarkable learning lags.

Studies show that students of all ages have experienced significant learning lag due to the pandemic, especially in core academic subjects like language arts and math. In our office, we work with students who have had very different academic learning experiences throughout the last two school years. Thanks to our work with students over the past two decades, we know how learning lags and foundational gaps in understanding can impact a student’s academic self-confidence, and we’ve seen how a little review can make a big difference.

There are a wide variety of review and assessment tools — worksheets, diagnostics, standardized tests, etc. — to help students measure their own knowledge and understanding against grade-level standards. In addition to providing useful practice and review, these assessments can help students identify skills and concepts to learn or re-visit for the upcoming academic school year.

We’ve compiled a list of educational resources families can use to measure students’ mastery of skills they’ll need to thrive in their new course load. (Please note: we are not endorsing any of these tools – we are simply providing a list based on our research in response to requests from families)

Math Mammoth

Math Mammoth provides free math videos, assessments, worksheets, and even full workbooks devoted to sharpening students’ math competence. The resources are always professional, grade-appropriate, and often free. Math Mammoth does have supplemental materials for high schoolers, though it is geared especially toward elementary and middle schoolers.

Kolbe Academy

Kolbe Academy online Iowa Tests are offered for students from Kindergarten to 12th-Grade. They aim to measure progress in a wide range of skills across core subjects, and can provide families with a detailed picture of their students’ learning needs. The cost ranges from $40 to $65 per assessment scheduled, and Kolbe builds break times into its exams. For families who want to use an in-depth standardized exam as a diagnostic for their children, Kolbe Academy’s Iowa exams are an option.

IXL Diagnostic

For those looking for a more continuous or subscription-based option, the IXL Diagnostic evaluates students in a flexible, self-paced setting. The format allows users to exit and re-enter the diagnostic at any time, and tests students of all ages on core Math and Language Arts skills in an online environment. As feedback, IXL generates personalized action plans and skill recommendations that become more specific and accurate the more that students test themselves. IXL also offers Science and Social Studies content for grades K-8.

Avant Assessment

Foreign language learning has been significantly impacted during the pandemic, and many students remain uncertain about their fluency levels. For students, knowing what skills to practice for the next grade level, and how to find support, can be empowering and confidence-building. Avant’s STAMP (STAndards-based Measurement of Proficiency) assessments allow students to gauge their competency in a long list of languages, including Spanish, Arabic, Mandarin, Hawaiian, French, and many others. Users have free access to simplified sample tests, and can pay a fee to access more comprehensive placement and proficiency diagnostics. Avant offers a choice between proficiency tests, which measure overall proficiency and award fluency certificates) and placement tests designed to determine the appropriate foreign language course for the test-taker’s reading, writing, speaking, and listening skills.

As always, we are here to help students build confidence, stay organized, and support intellectual curiosity and engaged learning. Diagnostics and assessments can be tools to help with evaluation so that we can personalize and focus learning paths.

Please feel welcome to contact us for more information about the many ways that our staff can support students’ academic confidence and personalized learning growth in the coming year.

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