Written by Joanne Helperin
In the spring, we traditionally encourage parents to guard against the summer slide, in which children lose 2-3 months of the previous year’s math learning during the long summer break.
But this is hardly a traditional year.
Before the summer of 2020 even begins, more than 50 million U.S. families are already fighting what educators are calling the “COVID slide” — the learning loss that results from students being shut out of school for an extended period of time during the pandemic.
Teachers are worried that students are falling behind. The Northwest Evaluation Association (NWEA), a nonprofit assessment provider, predicts school closures will cause some students to be as much as a year behind in math when school restarts in the fall, with elementary school students at the greatest risk.
Many schools are still struggling to fully transition their students to remote learning. Even in situations where schools have been able to shift quickly, the student experience is largely inferior to traditional classroom learning due to technology challenges, large class sizes, or the lack of consistent access to teachers. Only a fraction of public schools offers “synchronous” instruction, which allows students to engage with educators in real time.
Math Comprehension Will Suffer Most
Under COVID-19 lockdowns, student learning is taking a beating in all academic subjects, but math is hit hardest. Most children have gaps in their math foundation even during the best of times; trying to learn math online with a classroom of other students is an almost insurmountable challenge. Parents may try to help, but the vast majority feel poorly equipped to help their child with their math studies.
The resulting frustration (and, often, tears) that families experience now is more than a short-term problem; it’s a slow-motion tragedy with long-term consequences for millions of students. Examining the NWEA’s research, The New York Times called the COVID slide “catastrophic,” saying it could sidetrack a generation.
Because math builds upon itself in layers, the number of children who are capable and confident in math will continue to fall drastically, even as educators, government and industry stress the importance of STEM-related subjects and careers.
Mathnasium@home: Live, Face-to-Face Instruction
The most effective way to remediate these learning gaps is with real-time, face-to-face instruction. Mathnasium designed its new Mathnasium@home service to do exactly that: provide the same expert math instruction and Mathnasium Method™ as in its learning centers, through any web-enabled computer. Mathnasium@home learning works with a student’s schedule and is available anywhere in North America, regardless of distance from a physical Mathnasium center.
Callout: See: The Wait Is Over: Mathnasium@home Offers Live Math Tutoring via Computer]
Unlike the myriad online math learning apps and programs, Mathnasium@home provides a comprehensive assessment to pinpoint strengths and weaknesses in a student’s math skills, then builds a learning plan unique to that student. Working with that plan, highly trained instructors tutor students in a way that’s supportive and perfectly paced, so students enjoy learning math.
Callout: He actually loves Mathnasium@home … I’m so thankful. It’s one less struggle. — Sharon B.
The sooner gaps in math knowledge are addressed, the less time it takes to remedy them. That’s why it’s important that children get live, synchronous instruction to support their virtual classroom learning as soon as possible before they fall far behind due to the COVID slide.
We also recommend using Mathnasium@home this summer, so students can continue to make up lost ground, avoid the learning loss that typically comes with summer break, or get ahead for the next academic year. When local Mathnasium learning centers reopen their doors, students can continue with Mathnasium@home or easily transition to the center for the in-person experience. Either way, they’ll get exactly what they need to prevent further learning loss, reverse the COVID slide, and stay strong in math.
To find out more about Mathnasium@home, contact us at 803-226-9090. We are here to help!