November 2020, as COVID-19 cases continue to rise in many parts of the world, over 670 million students reside in countries that are implementing full school closure policies, and over 150 million students are in countries where schools are partially closed. School closures have had severe consequences on students’ learning opportunities as well as their socioemotional and cognitive development. The estimates of learning losses associated with school closures suggest that affected students can lose nearly $10 trillion in lifetime earnings, adding to countries’ considerations for reopening schools.
As countries evaluate when and how to reopen schools safely, one key question is how schools will support learning and learning recovery. During school closures, some students continued to learn through various remote modalities, such as online learning platforms, television and radio, and paper packets, while others stopped learning altogether. When schools reopen for in-person instruction, students will return with very different levels of knowledge and skills, with disadvantaged students most likely to exhibit the greatest learning losses. The key to learning recovery in this context is the alignment of instruction and additional supports to where students are in their learning trajectory. Learning assessment – the process of gathering and evaluating information on what students know, understand, and can do – is an essential ingredient in this process of evaluating the state of student’s learning and in supporting learning recovery and advancement towards learning goals. As such, learning assessment should be a key element of any policy package supporting school reopening, as it puts the focus back on learning.
Equitable Education Alliance (EEA) is a community of practice for organizations; ministries, agencies and NGO’s who strives to push for a more inclusive and equitable educational system while enhancing the performance of existing equitable education organizations at all levels
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