n 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, many Canadian 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.