USA/ 05 February 2021/ Source/ https://abc3340.com/
By Stephen Quinn
Alabama’s top education official said school systems statewide are preparing for a learning gap in some students caused by the disruption from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Dr. Eric Mackey and school superintendents from across the state met earlier this week in Montgomery to discuss a recovery plan as students begin the second half of the academic year.
“There’s no question there’s going to be a group, I think it’s a very small group, that probably are going to need to repeat a class or even repeat a grade but we think the bigger issue is going to be students who are ready to move on and yet they’re not fully prepared for what comes next,” said Mackey.
One tool designed to help identify students who are falling behind is the Alabama Comprehensive Assessment Program or “ACAP” test. The new standardized test is designed to measure critical skills for students in 2nd-8th grade. The test was supposed to be given in Spring 2020 but was put on hold as school systems canceled classes during the rise of COVID-19.
The ACAP test is designed to be given in person but many students are still receiving remote instruction. So how will those students receive the test?
“Well we haven’t been told specifically,” said Marion County Schools Superintendent Ann West, who has 300 students systemwide still receiving remote instruction. “With test security and that kind of thing it’s just not possible to give a secure test except in an environment that you can control.”
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Mackey signaled increased summer school and after-school tutoring may be the most feasible options to ensure students who had fallen behind during the pandemic are able to catch up.
Birmingham City Schools announced Thursday it was proposing students begin the 2021 school year on July 19th. The new academic calendar with a shortened summer break was a direct response to a slide in student’s academic performance which superintendent Dr. Mark Sullivan said was a result of the pandemic.
School leaders like West say these measures are to ensure students are not forced to undergo even more significant adjustments like repeating a class or grade.
“You don’t want a child’s life to be effected for the rest of their lives. So we’re going to do everything they can to address the learning loss and help them catch up to where they need to be.”