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Does remote learning work? Pandemic prompts shift in teaching methods

How well are students learning from home?

That has been the major question for parents across New York State as some form of remote learning remains in-tact at almost every district amid the Coronavirus Pandemic.

“When we’re in an online platform, we can’t do traditional standardized testing, which means we’re losing a lot of the information that we rely on that tells us where students need resources and where they’re falling behind,” said Dr. Leigh Wedenoja, a senior policy analyst at Rockefeller Institute of Government. She spoke with Spectrum News about the progress the state and school districts have made with the remote learning process.

Another big question: How do teachers gauge whether students are learning effectively?

Dr. Wedenoja wrote an analysis studying how schools canceling standardized testing could make it more difficult for schools to accurately asses disparities in learning. This could be very tricky as it pertains to finding districts that aren’t doing as good a job.

“My best advice to schools would be to take testing in very small bites,” Dr. Wedenoja added. “Instead of looking at measuring how much a student learns in a unit, they should really be focused on skills-based testing to try to see where students are missing skills that can be filled in. I think this is most useful in reading and math where there are certain benchmarks, understanding fractions or being able to read unguided at certain levels. And those are easier for teachers to do rapid formative assessments then it would be to sort of get a whole vision of how students are doing.”