Recent News

Latest news, blogs and features from EdResearch for Action.


3 academic interventions policymakers can support to help get students back on track 

October 5, 2023

Recent research out of NWEA explores what teachers can do to support students. Our collaboration with researchers outside of our organization has also helped us develop recommendations for policymakers. They are presented in our new brief with EdResearch for Action, a project of the Annenberg Institute at Brown University and Results for America. The brief highlights research-based academic interventions and digs into research to highlight the most promising interventions policymakers can support for accelerating student learning in math and reading. We focus on three interventions with the strongest research base—tutoring, summer school, and double-doses of math instruction—before discussing ways schools can create the conditions for academic acceleration practices to succeed.


Chronic absenteeism is making academic recovery harder in Ohio

September 25, 2023

Accelerating student learning remains a moral imperative, and a continuing challenge for Ohio’s policymakers and educational leaders. There has been much discussion about how to boost achievement, but one of the most basic ways to move the needle might be hiding in plain sight: simply making sure that students attend school. Unfortunately, absenteeism soared during the pandemic and remains at alarmingly high levels. Statewide, chronic absenteeism rates increased from 17 to 27 percent between 2018–19 and 2022–23. That translates to 418,382 students who were chronically absent last year. Such students miss more than 10 percent of the school year for any reason, whether excused or unexcused. Based on a 180-day year, that is equivalent to eighteen or more days of school—nearly a month worth of learning. That’s a lot of valuable instructional time lost.


Advancing Equitable Outcomes from Pre-K through the Workforce by Aligning State & Local Data Systems

August 18, 2023

The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated pre-existing inequities that changed how individuals engage with pre-K programs, schools, colleges, employers, and the world at large. Early evidence suggests the pandemic took a toll on student learning, educational attainment, employment, and physical and mental well-being, especially in communities of color and communities experiencing poverty. In recognition of the fact that better data infrastructure will be needed to shift the systems that currently produce inequitable outcomes, a growing number of states are working to modernize statewide longitudinal data systems to understand the experiences and outcomes of individuals seamlessly across pre-K, K–12, postsecondary, and workforce systems.


So What Is High-Dosage Tutoring Anyway?

June 26, 2023

In “Straight Talk with Rick and Jal,” Harvard University’s Jal Mehta and I examine some of the reforms and enthusiasms that permeate education. In a field full of buzzwords and jargon, our goal is simple: Tell the truth, in plain English, about what’s being proposed and what it might mean for students, teachers, and parents. We may be wrong and will frequently disagree, but we’ll try to be candid and ensure that you don’t need a Ph.D. in eduspeak to understand us.


Schools Must Know If Their Learning-Loss Programs Work — Before ESSER Funds End

June 8, 2023

Since the pandemic began in March 2020, the federal government has provided nearly $190 billion in education funding to states and districts. The three rounds of Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief funding represent the largest infusion of federal funds in history for reopening schools, updating buildings and supporting learning recovery. Now, over three years later, is the time to assess whether the dollars have made a difference, and what they should be spent on going forward.


A Data-Driven Approach to Enhancing Summer Programs

June 2, 2023

A new report identifies four areas to focus on to measure and improve summer learning programs, key questions to answer as you seek out data, and research-based recommendations for each area of data collection.


How Should Schools Spend ESSER Summer School Funds? RI Case Study Has Some Clues

April 17, 2023

A research brief from the EdResearch for Recovery Project can provide a roadmap, highlighting eight design principles – including program duration, attendance, use of time and quality of instruction – that matter most in creating effective programs that deliver strong academic benefits for students.


Claiborne & Stockwell: Not Enough Tutors to Go Around? College Students Can Help

July 13, 2022

It seems like everyone is talking about tutoring. Some 40% of school districts and charter organizations are talking about investing billions in tutoring and academic skills coaching to address pandemic-related disruptions to learning. Even more policymakers and researchers are discussing ways to create a national tutoring corps, statewide tutoring groups or lists of state-approved tutoring providers to help districts establish strong programs.


Learning with COVID: How educators and students are finding a ‘new normal’

January 21, 2022

After more than 250 school days, full-time in-person learning in Massachusetts public schools finally resumed in early September. For many, being back in the classroom was reason for celebration, and a highly anticipated return to some sense of normalcy since the COVID-19 pandemic shut school buildings down in March of 2020.


Back to School, but Still Learning Online

January 21, 2022

Federal stimulus dollars are dedicated to helping students recover from virtual schooling. Many districts are spending some of that money on virtual tutoring.


Study: Tutoring may mitigate pandemic learning losses

May 12, 2021

The latest federal stimulus package included funding for K-12 school districts across the country to use specifically for combatting learning losses resulting from the pandemic.


Tutoring works: Now is the time for Minnesota to invest

April 8, 2021

While debates have raged about how best to help kids catch up after the ‘COVID slide,’ one consistent theme has emerged: Tutoring is one of the most promising, evidenced-based strategies to help struggling students.


Research and practice, meet the state education agency

March 22, 2021

Given states’ resources and authority, they have a powerful role to play in making sure school improvement is informed by research.


Meet the students who say remote learning works just fine

January 21, 2021

One group of students is called the Golden Barrels, another Prickly Pears. For seventh graders in Jennifer Cale’s language arts class, this year’s theme is the cactus.


The COVID Slide: Inequality And Pandemic Learning Loss

January 21, 2021

One of the many heartbreaks of the pandemic has been the way many tired and overworked parents have to watch their children fall behind academically. Emily Veloza has witnessed the so-called "COVID slide" firsthand. Her daughter Olivia was a middle-of-the-road student who used to be generally enthusiastic about school. Since the pandemic, her grades and her motivation have slipped.


US parents delaying preschool and kindergarten amid pandemic

September 24, 2020

Claire Reagan was feeling overwhelmed as her oldest child’s first day of kindergarten approached and with a baby on the way. The 5-year-old boy has autism, and she worried he would struggle with juggling in-person and virtual learning, and that she wouldn’t have enough time to give him the help he needs. So she decided to wait a year before sending him to school.


PMP209: Supporting Students From Immigrant Families In A Pandemic

September 3, 2020

I imagine you are more aware than ever the anxiety surrounding the start of school for so many families. In addition, you have the added stress of trying reach families who may not be reaching back to you or who may be struggling with protocols or distance learning because of unknown barriers. For instance, how are you reaching out to families whose language or cultural situations may create additional barriers to doing school during a pandemic?


Research And Evidence Can Help Guide Teachers During The Pandemic

September 2, 2020

Teachers are used to playing many different roles, but this year they are facing the most complex challenges of their careers. They are being asked to be public health experts. Tech support specialists. Social workers to families reeling from the effects of layoffs and illness. Masters of distance learning and trauma-responsive educational practices. And they are being asked to take on these new responsibilities against a backdrop of rising COVID-19 cases in many parts of the country, looming budget cuts for many school districts, and a hyper-polarized political debate over the return to school.


Teachers, Live Screen Time Is Precious. Use It Well

September 1, 2020

In the current pandemic reality, educators can improve learning, we believe, by finding better ways to use and structure students’ work time. That’s true whether learning is fully remote via computers, phones, or packets or whether it includes in-person instruction.


Students Lost Time and Learning in the Pandemic. What ‘Acceleration’ Can Do to Help

August 19, 2020

The past decades of often frantic “school reform” has yielded few turnaround models that have shown positive effects for students. Often, in addition to lackluster results, they’ve left a lot of detritus in their wake: overpaid consultants, demoralized teachers, and a fragmented community.


High-Dosage Tutoring Is Effective, But Expensive. Ideas for Making It Work

August 19, 2020

One-on-one tutoring is the original “personalized learning,” dating back centuries. Along with the Socratic seminar, it may be among the oldest pedagogies still in existence. And as it turns out, it is probably the single most powerful strategy for responding to learning loss. 


Individualize Instruction, Remove Barriers, Track Student Progress: Some Tips for Making Distance-Learning Special Ed Work

August 18, 2020

“Can you give an example of an online lesson that’s effective for students with disabilities?” That’s the question Elizabeth Barker has fielded over and over as schools have prepared to reopen. But it’s the one question that Barker, a special education expert with NWEA, a nonprofit data and assessment provider, can’t answer.


Research-Backed Strategies to Address Student Learning Loss

August 13, 2020

Following a chaotic spring semester and extended school closures brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, many students will require additional academic support as instruction resumes this fall. A new policy brief, coauthored by the University of Chicago Consortium on School Research‘s Elaine Allensworth and the Annenberg Institute‘s Nate Schwartz, offers some research-backed strategies for schools attempting to address student learning loss in the months ahead.


Centering Teaching and Learning in Plans to Educate Students With Disabilities This Fall

August 3, 2020

Questions of health and safety of students and school personnel have dominated summer debates about how to open schools this fall. The collective focus on safety is certainly appropriate, considering concerns voiced by parents and educators. In most all cases, states have asked school districts to prepare for multiple possible scenarios, ranging from fully in-person to fully virtual.


From the Kitchen Tables of Jenn and Paige: What We’re Watching, Week of July 13

July 13, 2020

As we all try to understand our rapidly evolving education environment during the COVID-19 crisis and the uncertainty that surrounds it, the Data Quality Campaign is working to elevate what’s happening – whether it’s concrete examples of what’s working in states and districts, ideas and proposals from the field, or things our organization and others are exploring. To accomplish this, we’re bringing you our thoughts on the most salient conversations happening in the last week on navigating education during the pandemic and future recovery efforts.


Schwartz & Kerr: To Help Guide Decisions About COVID, Schools and Students, Researchers Are Compiling Decades of Data in Easy-to-Read Briefs. Here’s Some of What They’ve Found

July 7, 2020

In recent months, as schools nationwide scrambled to respond to the challenges posed by COVID-19, state and local education leaders have reached out to ask us: What does research say about how to prevent learning loss? About how to prepare teachers for distance learning? About how to address the mental health and other needs of students and educators during a crisis? About how to reduce the impact of budget cuts?


Annenberg Institute to provide research-based advice for educators amid COVID-19

June 30, 2020

Project led by the Annenberg Institute and Results for America will equip educators with research briefs on addressing teaching challenges, from coping with learning loss to protecting the most vulnerable students.