How to Get the COVID Generation Back on Track in Math

Feb 7, 2022 | Newmarket

Feel like the pandemic has fully taken over the world and our everyday life?  There is definitely some truth to that. COVID has impacted and disrupted how we live, work, play, interact, socialize, and learn. This extraordinary time has been tough, frustrating, exhausting situation for everyone.

For school-aged children (aka “the COVID generation”), the ongoing pandemic has caused a tremendous shift in how teachers teach and how students learn. The last few years have been a roller coaster filled with so many ups, downs, sharp turns and lots of white knuckles as we hang on tight and hope for the ride to end…but it has not. It has resulted in lots of shifts that have had a negative impact on overall education.

And a serious consequence of the COVID pandemic has been a significant reduction in math proficiency.

4 elementary school aged students sitting at their desks in the classroom wearing masks.  The boy is raising his hand.

Math Loss and the COVID Generation

Kids especially are really feeling disconnected from school, their peers, and their teachers. And teachers are feeling the same thing.

Let’s be 100% honest - It’s hard for anyone to really feel connected these days.  Social distancing and masks make it challenging. Add in the constantly changing rules, regulations, mandates, restrictions, closures, and various degrees of lockdowns taking place, it’s hard not to feel disconnected (and tired feeling disconnected).

Pre-COVID, in a ‘normal’ school year, teachers were already faced with the challenge to connect with every single student they taught and also cater to their individual learning preferences and needs, which is not an easy feat. More so, with the ongoing pandemic, and the ongoing waves that are disrupting any flow or sense of normalcy in the classroom, teachers and educators have not been able to provide consistent in-person learning for their students. Instead, they are juggling the back and forth shifts between online learning, in classroom, hybrid learning, while also dealing with increased pressure and need to provide a safe learning environment for their students, while also addressing increased tech issues and concerns from parents. And let’s not forget their students are more anxious, distracted and often dis-engaged. To say that’s a lot is an understatement.  

Recent studies have shown COVID’s negative impact on many aspects of our children’s education. Renaissance Learning, a global leader in research, assessment and learning analytics, released a study looking at the negative impact of COVID on education. The study sampled over one million students across grades 1 through 8 who took Star Early Literacy, Star Reading or Star Math assessments during fall 2019 and fall 2020. They used historical growth norms drawn from recent pre-COVID years and were able to establish reasonable estimations of how each student would have been expected to perform in a pandemic-free fall 2020 school term. The study found that:

  • A greater percentage of students in higher risk categories in 2020 compared to 2019.
  • The growth of students’ overall math progress significantly regressed in 2020.
  • For math specifically, across all grades, students were performing behind expectations, AND in some grades, the average child was up to 3 months behind expectations in math.  3 Months!

If that was not enough, we cannot ignore the truth (and hard fact) that once a child falls behind in math, it is very hard for that child to catch up under ‘normal’ conditions, let alone the additional strain, constraints, and hardships that COVID has put on our education system.

There is definite truth that the COVID generation of students will need more support in school, especially in math than what they are getting currently if they are expected to catch up and keep up with current grade level standards.

Signs My Child is Struggling in Math Now

What makes things even more challenging is that the most common signs that a child has fallen behind in math (and even in school overall), are not so obvious anymore in this pandemic environment.  COVID and the pandemic, specifically the monumental emotional weight and mentally draining impact of these, is making it very difficult to see and understand how your child is really doing academically.

Since kids are not always so forthcoming that they are struggling and frustrated in their math learning (or school in general), they are more likely to keep this to themselves and not raise their hand for help. As time passes, and math becomes harder and harder (as concepts build upon the prerequisite skills), students that are truly struggling are going to get further behind and more likely to give up trying.

Do you know if your child or children are struggling in math right now in school??  Here are 6 questions to think about and answer honestly:

  1. Are their math grades lagging or dropping, but their grades in subjects are not?
  2. Does your child appear bored with math?
  3. Do they still count on their fingers?
  4. Does your child make bold statements like, “I am not good at math.”, “I hate math class.” or “I am terrible at math?”
  5. Has your child’s teacher commented that your child is not working up to their full potential in math class?
  6. Has your child missed any key milestones in math?
  • In grades 2 and 3 they should have mastered addition and subtraction.
  • In grades 3 and 4, they should have developed strong multiplication and division skills.
  • In grades 5 and 6, they should be well versed in fractions.
  • In grades 7 and 8, they should understand square roots and integers.

If you answered yes to any of the above, your child may need some extra support in math.

Because math builds on itself, from concept to concept falling behind can cause more issues (struggles and anxiety) down the road that parents, and students think. This is why it is so important to take immediate action when your child is struggling with math.

What Are Other Parents Doing About Math Learning Loss?

The most important thing to do first is to speak with your child’s math teacher and get his or her support.  Make sure you inquire about what additional support the teacher or the school can offer your child to help them with their math struggles.  We want to be 100% honest here as we are living in unprecedented times from now, and it is difficult and challenging for everyone. Both students and teachers are dealing with their own unique challenges, so it may not be possible despite genuine efforts and good intentions for your child’s teacher or school to provide any additional support or the level of customized support your child needs.

One way parents are helping their kids with math loss is through increasing family support.  Parents, older siblings, or other caregivers are providing extra support with math homework at home. This is not always feasible (especially if the person providing the help does not feel confident in math). Do know that just by having a person at home to sit with them while they work through their math home can often provide comfort and lessen some anxiety for your child.

Another option is you can do what thousands of other parents and families in Canada are doing - get help from your local Mathnasium math learning centre. Here at Mathnasium of Newmarket we offer real-time, face-to-face instruction either in-centre or online through Mathnasium@home. For in-centre instruction we uphold very strict heath and safety practices to ensure that everyone is safe, and we’d be more than happy to share these with you. Our method of teaching math, The Mathnasium Method™, helps students understand concepts faster and easier than a “one-size-fits-all” curriculum. Our customized learning plans are proven to improve grades because our expert math instructors always complete a thorough personalized math assessment to pinpointing a child’s individual math learning needs before they develop a unique roadmap for that student. One thing we have not mentioned yet – our method, and our passionate math tutors make learning math fun – just ask any of our Mathletes!

Since Mathnasium opened its first centre in 2002, over a million parents around the world have trusted the Mathnasium name and entrusted their local Mathnasium with helping their children catch up, keep up and get ahead in math.

Why? Because it works!

Mathnasium has conducted multiple parent surveys and independent studies which revealed that the students we tutor in math experience tremendous strides in math comprehension, confidence, and grades. They also have improved performance on standards-based tests.

a graphic sharing the results of a parent survey by Mathnasium

Get Back on Track with Math Tutoring from Mathnasium of Newmarket

Does your child need help and support to get their math learning back on track? We’d be happy to help and we’re confident we’re the best local math tutor in Newmarket for your child and your family. Why? Because our business is founded on a core set of beliefs that guide and drive us forward in our missing to transform lives through math. We believe that:

  • Math matters, both at school and in life.
  • With the right support, materials, and instruction anyone can succeed in math
  • Math is fun, and we know how to make learning it fun.
  • People are the best teaching technology, especially when it comes to learning math. Our compassionate, passionate, and well-trained math tutoring experts here at Mathnasium of Newmarket will help motivate your child to achieve stronger grades in math (and school overall), provide emotional support in a safe environment, and help them celebrate all their successes along the way.

Contact us today through our online form or call or text us at (905) 895-6284. We’d love to talk to you more about the math tutoring programs we offer here and how we can help get and keep your kids on track at school all year long.