The COVID academic slide may be worse than expected, but we can overcome it!

The COVID academic slide may be worse than expected, but we can overcome it!

Please CLICK HERE to watch a LIVE session with more information.

When Covid-19 mandated that all schools be closed and replaced with online learning, many parents breathed a sigh of relief for their children’s protection. However, this relief turned into a worry for the future of our children’s education and their social well-being. Will they fall behind? What will become of their ability to interact with others? How will they get back on their feet? On the inside, many parents were wondering how they would get through this emotionally trying time for themselves and how they would eventually recover. No one here has ever had to deal with the challenge of juggling work and keeping children at home while they try to learn all day while being cut off from the outside world. Many parents were confused about how to proceed with their children’s education. Should they encourage additional support, get a tutor, homeschool the child, move them to a private school where they would be in person every day, and the list could go on and on?

Principals and teachers alike reassured us there was no need to be concerned about falling behind… since now everyone lost precious school time, so every child lost some stamina and progress… so there are now new benchmarks. Because of the prevalence of covid, schools and states have lowered their expectations for children. However, our return from Covid did not mean we were no longer required to complete State Testing. In 2021, students all over the country, including Massachusetts, were required to take standardized tests for their respective states. The findings took aback a good number of parents. Their child was behind the other children. The schools were overburdened with trying to deal with the social impact of covid, and although the teachers were doing the best they could with the limited time they had, it was not enough to get the children back on track.

Some parents looked for assistance from private tutoring companies. The students required encouragement, reassurance, and further instruction in the fundamental skills. At Zinkerz, a group of subject-matter experts designed a curriculum that is malleable to meet the needs of each student, beginning with Pre-K and continuing through High School. First, we adapted our lessons to coincide with each municipality’s curricula. Then we consulted with the parents to determine what their specific requirements were.

Zinkerz Case Study…

In the fall of 2021, a parent approached Zinkerz, concerned about their child’s MCAS report from 4th grade ELA (English Language Arts). The MCAS is a state-mandated standardized test in Massachusetts used to measure a child’s Grade Level Competency. They administer it after the third grade, which assesses if a child is at grade level. It is also a factor in deciding if a child will be allowed to graduate from High School.

The child, who we will call Mark, was partially meeting expectations for MCAS. He was 5 points below the benchmark for his grade. The student, a hard worker who was always on track, wanted to improve. He was discouraged and not enjoying school as much because he was not seeing progress. His parents were concerned as well… not knowing if this indicated the aftermath of the Covid Slide… 

The Zinkerz team combined their English Fundamentals (grade 5) Curriculum with an MCAS twist. The focus was on writing, reading comprehension, and basic English skills. Mark met with an experienced Zinkerz educator weekly for 50 minutes for six months. Mark also completed short homework assignments meant to assess his independent mastery. The educator focused the curriculum on the current skills for the grade and targeted exercises for the student.

In the fall of 2022, the results came out for the Spring 2022 MCAS. Mark’s strenuous efforts paid off!

What are you seeing?

In 2021, Mark scored 495 on the ELA MCAS. He was “Partially Meeting Expectations” (in the yellow zone). While they explained this as being acceptable by the school, his parents knew their child needed some extra help. He was BELOW the standard score of 500.

After six months of individual lessons once a week, he retook the MCAS in 2022. This time, he scored 516. This is well into the “Meeting Expectations” Range of scores. Mark improved his score to be ABOVE the standard.

What else is important to note?

Let’s look at the growth percentiles. This compares the CHANGE in scores to other students. Mark ended up in the 96th percentile.

What does that mean?

This means Mark’s INCREASE IN SCORES was HIGHER than 96 PERCENT of the population who took the test. So, if you lined up 100 students from most significant increase to smallest increase, Mark would be 4th in line, with 95 students behind him… It is important to note that Mark now exceeds the median score. It is also important to note that Mark’s increase in scores was exceptional. He worked hard and had targeted instruction… and now sees the results! Mark’s confidence grew in the 2021-2022 school year because of the additional support. And while test results are not the only thing that matters, Mark now sees the benefits of hard work and dedication. He knows he can excel and improve… all he needed was some personalized classes to get him on track.

In case you wanted more data, we compiled the total scores for each section and compared the State, district, School, and student for each section. You can see that Mark scored higher than the average on each section, making his total score 35% higher than the state average… We are so proud of Mark for his exceptional results… But here at Zinkerz, we know it is not always about the results… it is also about the journey. Mark worked hard and saw tremendous improvement. Our team is always here to provide this support to students to get them back on track, challenge them, or add additional support…

What can we do for you?

At Zinkerz, each student gets a tailor-made study plan. Throughout their journey, we will make adjustments and conduct reevaluations to guarantee that they receive an appropriate level of both challenge and reinforcement.

Fundamentals courses are available for grades K-7, are grade-specific for math and verbal, and can be customized to include homework assistance, standardized test prep, and much more. In addition, our Math and English Principles courses cover topics in math and English from grades 8 to 12, giving each student a tailored approach designed to highlight their strengths. When necessary, we work with each family to determine the best combination of homework assistance, foundation building, preview, and standardized test preparation.

Each student is unique and deserves an individual learning plan. We are here to help them achieve success and confidence along their journey to beating the slide, and getting back on track.

Above all else, we are honored to be on this journey with you!

Please CLICK HERE to watch a LIVE session with more information.

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