“Covid Slide” Warning:
Help for Students with Learning Differences
Researchers from the Northwest Evaluation Association (NWEA) in Portland (OR) have a warning for parents whose kids are home because of COVID-19 school shutdowns. The nonprofit organization – which does testing of student achievement — predicts what it calls a “Covid Slide” of academic declines, as students forget as much as half of what they were taught during the months before the COVID-19 state of emergency was declared. That means a more difficult time next year for kids in school, unless they can find extra help during this time of social distancing.
Researchers Megan Khufeld and Beth Tarasawa say the actual declines your child will suffer will depend on the course and grades. They predict students could lose 50% of what they learned in math by the time school resumes. And they say academic declines will be greatest for students in the third, fourth, and fifth grades. A bright spot? Students in kindergarten and first grade are least likely to forget what they have learned.
The researchers say the problem is compounded by additional traumas students are facing with the advent of COVID-19, including economic insecurity.
For students with learning disorders, the setback can be even more pronounced. ARK Institute of Learning, a 25-year-old Tacoma-based nonprofit, is now offering individual instruction remotely for students and parents who don’t want their kids to slip back while their school is closed because of coronavirus.
The one-on-one online sessions are taught by staff who are thoroughly trained in providing help for those struggling with learning challenges and those with a variety of learning disorders, including dyslexia, dysgraphia, non-verbal/spatial disorders, and those affecting advanced high school math and science. Instructors and students work one-on-one via Zoom video conferencing.
Instruction is typically based on results of testing or what’s called an “IEP.” Because of Covid-19 interruptions, the “official” documents may not be readily available, but ARK instructional staff will piece together whatever documentation is available so that instruction can begin. Sessions are scheduled based on the student’s need and availability, covering whatever is needed to try to prevent the “Covid Slide.”
More information about the “Covid Slide” and educational strategies to avoid it are available at ARK Institute of Learning. Find more information at arkinst.org, or call 253-573-0311 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to be connected with an ARK inquiry coordinator.