Teachers all over the country have risen to the extraordinary challenge of transforming their lessons into a comprehensive virtual education. Using tools like email, Edmodo, and Zoom, along with EdTech solutions from many of our partner vendors, teachers have made the best of a difficult situation. GG4L has been in the midst of it all, trying to connect member districts with free EdTech solutions, grants to cover the cost of the tech they need to support their students, and making sure every student has a device and internet access in order to thrive in this virtual education world. But the one area where we hear that teachers are struggling the most is in assessing what students have learned.
Lack of Assessment Solution
Not every district has access an online classroom solution with built-in assessment capabilities. Some districts are still struggling to simply deliver lessons, sending home electronic packets of material for the students to work through. In many cases, final exams have been cancelled as has statewide testing. The New York State Board of Education took the unprecedented move of cancelling all June Regents Exams and pushing back statewide ELA and math testing to the spring, as well as postponing the rollout of their new ELA testing. Other states and districts around the country are implementing similar measures.
How Will We Know What Students Have Learned?
While some teachers were able to continue their lessons online almost unaffected by the pandemic because their districts had already been supporting the incorporation of EdTech and comprehensive student learning solutions, most will have a difficult time accurately assessing students. Between the lack of availability of devices and internet service to some students to lack of technology to assess students in some districts, the pressure to assess and re-mediate may likely fall on the shoulders of the next school year’s teachers. When students do finally return to the classroom, testing, assessing, and re-mediating gaps in learning will likely dominate as much as implementing new safety protocols for social distancing and cleaning.
The Creativity of Teachers Is Inspiring
Even as we face an uncertain future, some teachers are showing us the way. From the trade school in Altoona that found ways for culinary students to bake their final projects in their own kitchens to the Kansas geometry teacher using a complete online classroom solution from one of our EdTech vendor partners, Lumen Touch, teachers are embracing every opportunity to meet students’ needs, teach and assess them as best they can, and prepare them for whatever comes next – both academically and emotionally.
The Future of Education
Even once students return to the classroom, the face of education may be entirely different. Working in small groups where children gather closely around a single table; partnering during a lab science and working shoulder to shoulder; overcrowded classrooms of 40 or more students – all of the scenarios may no longer be able to happen to prevent a second wave of rapid spread of the virus. In fact, some education may always need to stay online in order to keep students safer. To do so means we must address the assessment gap in a meaningful – and accessible – way for all students.
The collection of vendor solutions available to school districts can be found in our online Catalyst Catalog. Many of these solutions offer remote learning and virtual classroom support. GG4L Catalyst matches funding available from GG4L Sponsors with GG4L Member Schools who wish to deploy EdTech solutions as part of a sponsored GG4L Impact Initiative. Find assessment solutions here.
Safer Schools On-Demand Grant
The On-Demand Grant enables schools and districts around the world to ASSESS their progress against implementing best practices for school safety, DISCOVER validated EdTech solutions that can save them time and money and make them more effective and efficient, and APPLY for an in-kind grant that allows them to select any vendor’s solution in the Safer Schools catalog of curated EdTech solutions for the use of the school year. Learn more.
Future-Proof Skills Initiative
“Future-Proof Skills” is a new strategic impact initiative centered around STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math) and business education along with career readiness, validation and inventory for schools worldwide. Learn more.