Teachers across the nation want to begin next school year with the next grade’s instruction, rather than reteaching content from this spring, according to an online survey on options to help students make up for their lost school days when classrooms reopen in the fall.
Conducted in April by non-profit advocacy group Collaborative for Student Success, the survey (pdf) included over 5,500 teachers, administrators, policymakers, and advocates. Participants were asked for their opinions on the following different options for the 2020-21 school year.
- An extended school year with additional time to revisit content from spring 2020.
- Beginning the next school year with contents from spring 2020, but keep the length unchanged
- Beginning the next school year as in any other year, with next grade’s instruction.
- Offer students the option to repeat the present grade.
Results showed that 70 percent of administrators—who accounted for about 12 percent of all respondents—chose beginning the next year with spring 2020 concepts as the best option for making up lost school time due to school closures. Advocates and policymakers mostly agreed with administrators.
Among teachers, however, the most popular strategy was keeping 2020-2021 as a regular school year. About 65 percent of all 4,500 participating teachers said that they don’t want to change the structure of the upcoming school year, although they acknowledged that instruction would need to be “differentiated and flexible,” depending on how much each student has been affected by the extended school closure.
In written comments, respondents provided alternative options, including extending the school day, creating a mandatory study session dedicated to contents students missed during shutdowns, and allowing students to relearn only certain subjects if parents determine their child would need additional instruction in a specific subject.
Others suggested that it should be left to the teachers to decide what to teach and how to provide students in need with additional support.
“Allow classroom teachers to individualize instruction for students to fill in gaps-based on each student’s need, with no pressure from end of year state testing requirements,” an administrator from Tennessee wrote. “Extending learning opportunities for students into next summer, as needed, might be offered to individual students, based on their need.”
One teacher respondent from Texas emphasized the role parents play in the process.
“Collaboration between teachers and parents to work together and cover the content missed this year. We could have some parent assisted evening or Saturday classes. Parent assisted tutorials,” the teacher wrote. “We will need help… more adults to bring the students to where they need to be and cover the content while not falling farther behind.”