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Reports continue to come in showing student progress and a return to pre-pandemic levels. But, despite progress during the 2021-22 school year, over a third of students still fell below grade level by the time it ended. This validates the sustained urgency and focus on acceleration to not only recover learning loss but surpass insufficient pre-pandemic performances.

  • Pandemic-related disruptions, including quarantines and staff absences, are responsible for the lack of progress.
  • Limited efforts to ramp up tutoring programs could also be a factor.
  • Many schools have made strong efforts to provide tutoring, but relied largely on teachers, who have been stretched thin because of staffing shortages. 
  • Quarantines and chronic absenteeism created the most disruption last school year.
  • The hardest part of last year was teachers’ sense of how far behind students were socially. 

Urgent needs 

  • Teacher vacancies, with shortages hitting larger schools and those serving more poor and minority students the hardest.
  • But shortages were an increasing challenge before the pandemic.
  • Trouble finding transportation staff.
  • Youth mental health crisis in communities across our country.
  • Schools have positions for mental health professionals that are open for an entire school year that don’t get filled.
  • The new grant programs will be helpful if they can remove barriers for those who lack full credentials.


  • Most helpful strategies to address learning loss: 
    • high-dosage tutoring — 30-minute
    • one-on-one or small group sessions at least three times a week
    • high-quality tutoring model as part of their summer learning programs.   
    • remedial instruction
    • remediation
  • Wide range of student learning needs within one classroom was overwhelming for teachers. 
  • Absenteeism persists requiring persistent aggression to keep students in school.
  • Cautious optimism within uncertainty.


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