Back to School: Resources for Return

Data Insights: Evidence of the Pandemic’s Impact on Students in 2020-2021

Ohio’s districts, schools and educators emerged from the 2020-2021 school year having demonstrated incredible dedication and service to students and families in an unprecedented educational context. As the 2021-2022 school year begins, students and families continue to face significant challenges. Yet there is tremendous hope and commitment. Ohio has the tools and knowledge necessary to identify and address individual student needs, including dedicated, effective educators who are ready to do whatever it takes to help students meet their full potential.

Data on students’ educational experiences are more important than ever in supporting student-centric decision-making. In the February 2021 report on How the Pandemic is Affecting the 2020-2021 School Year, the Ohio Department of Education shared data from the fall semester of the 2020-2021 school year. Now, a new installment of the Data Insights report is available to provide information on the pandemic’s impact using statewide data collected through the Spring of 2021, including the Spring 2021 state assessments.  

The following information highlights state-level data points. As is best practice in continuous improvement science, the Department encourages schools and districts to constantly consider effective ways to collect, analyze and make sense of their own data, using it to set goals and drive improvement.

 

Key Themes

Several key themes emerge from Ohio’s state-level data about the 2020-2021 school year:

  • Student Enrollment: As expected based on the earlier report, total preK-12 enrollment showed a decrease between the 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 school years. This decrease was approximately three percent (about 53,000 students). Almost half of this decrease was in preschool and kindergarten (approximately 25,000 students). Many students likely delayed enrollment or enrolled in other educational options; Ohio’s homeschool enrollment increased by 55% (approximately 18,000 students).
  • Student Attendance: As expected based on the circumstances created by the pandemic, there also was a notable increase in chronic absence (defined as 18 days [10%] or more of excused or unexcused time not engaged in education activity). In 2020-2021, 24% of Ohio’s K-12 students – almost 380,000 students – were chronically absent1. As is the typical pattern for chronic absenteeism, Ohio’s historically underserved and vulnerable students, and students in urban areas, experienced higher rates of chronic absenteeism than their peers
  • Spring Assessments:
    • Test Taking: Most of Ohio’s students participated in the state’s Spring 2021 assessments, but many of the most vulnerable students did not.
    • Lower Scores: Mirroring the February 2021 report, test scores are, not surprisingly, generally lower than in past years:
      • Across most grades, English language arts proficiency rates generally decreased by about eight percentage points and math proficiency rates decreased by approximately 15 percentage points.
      • Based on Ohio’s state assessments, third-grade students demonstrated roughly 20 percent less learning on average between November 2020 and April 2021 (between the fall and spring administration of the English language arts exam) as compared to students in prior years.
    • Remote Education Models: At all grade levels, the decrease in learning was more pronounced among students in districts that primarily used a fully remote or hybrid education delivery model.
    • Equity Implications: Ohio’s Spring 2021 assessment results indicate that historically underserved students experienced the greatest decreases in learning as a result of the pandemic, sometimes two to three times more than their peers. This is typical in situations where learning is disrupted. Differences among student subgroups were greater in English language arts than in math.
    • District-Level Data Files for Spring Assessment

  • Using this Information 


Student Enrollment  

Student enrollment changed in exceptional ways during the 2020-2021 school year. Parents and families faced tough decisions about the best options for their students’ education and well-being. Enrollment data from fall 2020, published in Data Insights: How the Pandemic is Affecting the 2020-2021 School Year, showed that:

  • Total enrollment in preK-grade 12 public schools decreased by 53,000 students—or 3%—between Fall 2019 and Fall 2020. By comparison, enrollment decreases in the prior three years ranged from 0.03% to 0.4%.
  • Almost half of the total decrease in enrollment (about 25,000 students) occurred in preschool and kindergarten; enrollment decreases in these grade levels were especially pronounced in districts that began the school year fully remote.2
Enrollment data reported in Spring 2021 suggests, not surprisingly, that families did not return to public schools in large numbers mid-way through the 2020-2021 school year. In Spring 2021, total enrollment in preK-grade 12 public schools remained down by 3% when compared to prior school years.
  • In specific grades, enrollment changed between the fall and spring in much the same way it has in previous years, implying these changes do not reflect the pandemic’s impact on families’ and students’ decision-making. For example:
    • Enrollment in preschool and kindergarten did increase between the fall and spring semesters of the 2020-2021 school year; approximately 8,000 preschool and kindergartners enrolled between Fall 2020 and Spring 2021, a 5% increase. This increase between fall and spring is similar to previous years.
    • Overall enrollment in grades 1-12 decreased by 1% between Fall 2020 and Spring 2021, again reflecting patterns of enrollment change similar to prior years.

Many students who did not enroll in traditional public schools during the 2020-2021 school year, may have participated in other educational opportunities. For example, homeschool enrollment increased in Ohio by 55% (approximately 18,000 students) between the 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 school years.

More details about the changes in enrollment between 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 are available in the February 2021 report on Data Insights: How the Pandemic is Affecting the 2020-2021 School Year. View the Fall 2020 and Spring 2021 enrollment report which includes data for all districts.

 

Reengagement During the 2021-2022 School Year

It will be critically important to reengage students who were not engaged in schooling during the 2020-2021 school year as the 2021-2022 school year begins. The Ohio Statewide Family Engagement Center at the Ohio State University provides resources for districts developing robust family engagement strategies. The Department provides additional resources on its family engagement website, including a framework for building partnerships and research-based family and community engagement models.
 


Student Attendance

Enrollment data does not speak to attendance, which is one of the most significant factors in student success. Students may be enrolled in school, but if they are not attending, they will not have access to the high-quality academic and whole-child supports offered in the school setting.

Barriers to attendance looked different during the 2020-2021 school year and were likely more significant for some students than in the past. For example, the unplanned nature of quarantining requirements likely placed students in a position to disengage from learning in ways not previously experienced. Ohio’s most underserved students were disproportionately impacted by the pandemic and faced an increased risk of chronic absence (missing 10% -- 18 days -- or more of the year for any reason) during the 2020-2021 school year.  

At the same time, measuring attendance proved to be challenging during a year in which many districts moved between remote, hybrid and in-person education delivery models. The state-level data paints a concerning picture regarding chronic absenteeism; measurement challenges may mean that the state’s data underestimates the real challenge.
  • During the 2020-2021 school year, 24% of Ohio’s students (almost 380,000 students) were chronically absent.  As expected given the circumstances created by the pandemic, this is a significant increase compared to prior years (Figure 1)3.

Figure 1. In 2020-2021, almost 380,000 (24%) of Ohio's students were chronically absent, an expected, yet substantial increase compared to prior years.

Graph with Ohio's chronically absent students compared to prior years
 

Not surprisingly, chronic absenteeism increased in 75% of Ohio’s traditional public districts. Among districts that were primarily fully remote during the 2020-2021 school year, chronic absenteeism increased, on average, by nine percentage points. By comparison, chronic absenteeism increased an average of five percentage points among districts that were primarily in-person and four percentage points among districts that were primarily hybrid during the school year.

Consistent with the circumstances encountered and the educational models used, the greatest increases in chronic absenteeism occurred in Ohio’s major urban districts4 (Figure 2), where the percentage of chronically absent students increased by 31 percentage points between the 2018-2019 and 2020-2021 school years (from 32% to 63%).  

In contrast, there was almost no change in chronic absenteeism in small towns where pandemic disruptions were much less, and much smaller increases in rural and suburban districts (a six- and eight-percentage point increase, respectively). 


Figure 2. Increases in chronic absenteeism were concentrated in urban and major urban districts.

Graph with Chronic Absenteeism Rates by district typology
   

Chronic absenteeism increased across all grade levels. With some exceptions, the percentage point increase in chronic absenteeism was relatively consistent across grade levels (Figure 3).

 
Figure 3. With exceptions at Kindergarten and 12th grade, chronic absenteeism increased at a similar rate across grade levels between 2018-2019 and 2020-2021. 
Student Grade Level 2019-2020 2020-2021 Change
Kindergarten 17% 22% +5%
1st 14% 21% +7%
2nd 12% 20% +8%
3rd 12% 19% +7%
4th 12% 20% +8%
5th 12% 21% +9%
6th 15% 23% +8%
7th 16% 25% +9%
8th 17% 26% +9%
9th 21% 29% +8%
10th 21% 28% +7%
11th 23% 29% +6%
12th 27% 29% +2%

 

The attendance gap that existed before the pandemic increased predictably during the 2020-2021 school year. As was the case pre-pandemic, Black and Hispanic students’ chronic absenteeism rates were significantly higher than their white peers (Figure 4).


Figure 4. Racial and ethnic gaps in chronic absenteeism increased in 2020-2021.

Graph with Racial and ethnic gaps in chronic absenteeism

Chronic absenteeism rates are generally higher for historically underserved students compared to their peers; for some, but not all, subgroups, attendance gaps increased (Figure 5). For example, as was the case in prior years:

  • Students with disabilities had higher chronic absenteeism rates than non-disabled students in 2020-2021 (33% and 23% respectively). For both students with disabilities and non-disabled students, chronic absenteeism increased by seven percentage points between 2018-2019 and 2020-2021.
  • Economically disadvantaged students had higher chronic absenteeism rates than non-economically disadvantaged students in 2020-2021 (38% and 11% respectively). Between 2018-2019 and 2020-2021, chronic absenteeism increased by 12 percentage points for economically disadvantaged students and four percentage points for non-economically disadvantaged students.
  • English learners had higher chronic absenteeism rates than non-English learners in 2020-2021 (32% and 24% respectively). Between 2018-2019 and 2020-2021, chronic absenteeism increased by 16 percentage points for English learners and seven percentage points for non-English learners.

Figure 5. Chronic absenteeism rates are higher for historically underserved students compared to their peers; in most cases, the pandemic increased chronic absenteeism gaps.

Graph with Ohio's chronic absenteeism rates by subcategory

The full report on chronic absenteeism includes 2018-2019 and 2020-2021 chronic absenteeism rates for all districts.

 

Supporting Attendance

Now more than ever, it is important for districts and schools to work with students, families and partners to identify approaches for encouraging and tracking attendance that accommodate the unique situations of each child.
The Department continues to work with its partners in the Stay in the Game! Network – the Cleveland Browns Foundation, the Columbus Crew Foundation, Proving Ground and AttendanceWorks – to understand and support emphasizing and improving attendance. The Department’s resources on attendance and engagement encourage districts to:  

  • Keep in contact: Maintain contact information for students and families and build strong relationships that can endure over time and distance. Students and families benefit from relationships with teachers, school staff, coaches and mentors. These caring adults play vital roles in communicating with families and often know how best to stay in touch as they are the individuals who students see most often.
  • Pay attention to health and safety first: The focus on consistent student attendance, including exposure to and engagement in learning, should be balanced with the priority of putting the health and safety of students, families and educators first. Attendance policies and practices should not unintentionally penalize students and staff who should remain home while sick.  
  • Emphasize student presence and engagement: The keys to ensuring students are present, engaged and supported in learning include maintaining frequent contact with students and families, connecting students to appropriate resources, encouraging student participation and offering enriching, interesting and engaging learning opportunities.
  • Use data to drive decisions: Use short- and long-term attendance data to identify root causes of absences and understand successes and opportunities, support diverse learning styles, identify solutions and drive continuous improvement. 
  • Leverage community partnerships that address the whole system: Collaborate with strategic community partners to strengthen efforts to support attendance and exposure to and engagement in learning. 
  • Use a multi-tiered system to support the whole child: It is crucial to support the needs of the whole child by using a multi-tiered system of supports to remove barriers that prevent students from participating and engaging in learning, mitigate negative learning experiences, address lack of engagement and misconceptions and provide needed social-emotional supports. Ohio’s Whole Child Framework provides a blueprint to meet these whole child needs, which are foundational to a child’s intellectual and social development and necessary for students to fully engage in learning and school.
 

Spring Assessments

 

National Trends

Nationally, understanding the pandemic’s impact on student learning is a top priority among educators and policymakers. Based on available evidence, it is increasingly clear that, in general and not surprisingly, students’ academic progress was slower during the 2020-2021 school year compared to prior years,5 more so in math than in reading. Mirroring historical patterns, the pandemic’s impact on learning was greater for historically underserved students, including Black, Hispanic and economically disadvantaged students. This disparate impact widens an already existing achievement gap. Further, national research may underestimate the impact because of lower test participation rates among all students, a trend more pronounced among vulnerable student populations.
 

Ohio’s Assessments                                             

In the fall of 2020, Ohio’s kindergartners took the Kindergarten Readiness Assessment (KRA) and Ohio’s third graders took the third-grade English language arts test. These assessments represented the first statewide assessment results since the start of the coronavirus pandemic and the first insights into the pandemic’s impact on Ohio students’ learning. Results from both assessments revealed lower student participation and performance compared to prior years, especially among Ohio’s historically underserved student populations6.

 

Spring 2021 Assessments

The Fall 2020 assessment results provided an important early glimpse of the pandemic’s impact on two grade levels. Ohio’s Spring 2021 assessments provide a broader source of information across grade levels and subjects. In general, the impacts noted based on the Fall 2020 assessments were largely repeated in the Spring 2021 assessments. Researchers from the John Glenn College of Public Affairs at the Ohio State University conducted an analysis of participation and performance on the 2021 third-grade English language arts test, math and English language arts tests in grade 5-8 and high school end-of-course-exams. The full report is available on the John Glenn College of Public Affairs website.

 

Spring Third-Grade English Language Arts Test

The third-grade English language arts test measures student proficiency on Ohio’s Learning Standards for English language arts for grade 3. Third-grade students first take the test in the fall, at which point the test serves as an early marker of student performance on the standards. Students who do not score at least at the “proficient” level in the fall are required to take the test again in the spring; students who score at least at the “proficient” level in the fall may also take the test in the spring. Like prior years, over 95% of the third-grade students who took the English language arts assessment in the Fall of 2020 also took the test in the Spring of 2021.
 
Ohio State’s analysis of the Spring 2021 English language arts assessment is unique in that it captures student learning between the Fall of 2020 and the Spring of 2021. Ohio State’s analysis provides important specific information about the expected drop in student performance. Their report indicates that:

  • As measured by Ohio’s state tests, Ohio’s third-grade students learned roughly 20 percent less on average between November 2020 and April 2021 (between the fall and spring administration of the English language arts exam) as compared to students in prior years.
  • Approximately one third of the total decline in third-grade English language arts achievement is due to a decrease in learning during the 2020-2021 school year. The remaining two thirds of the decrease in learning took place prior to the Fall 2020 testing window (including, but not limited to school closures in Spring 2020).

 

Spring Assessments in Grades 5-8 and High School End-of-Course Exams

Like the third-grade English language arts test, Ohio’s spring state assessments in grades 5 through 8 and Ohio’s end-of-course exams are designed to measure students’ proficiency on Ohio’s Learning Standards. As a result of the pandemic, Ohio does not have statewide test results from the 2019-2020 school year. Ohio State’s analysis compares participation and performance data from the 2020-2021 school year to data from the 2017-2018 and 2018-2019 school years.

 

Common Themes in Statewide Results

Across the third-grade English language arts test, English language arts and math tests in grades 5-8 and the high school end of course exams, results were expected to be lower. The data show the following details:
 
Test Taking: On most of Ohio’s spring assessments, participation was lower in 2020-2021 than in past years, particularly among Ohio’s historically underserved students.

  • Approximately 88% of Ohio’s third graders participated in the Spring 2021 English language arts assessment, down from 97% in prior years.
  • In grades 5-8, participation rates decreased by approximately five to seven percentage points in both English language arts and math.
 
Lower Scores: Across all grades, scores were notably lower in 2020-2021 than in past years, with larger impacts on math than in English language arts.
  • In grades 5-8 and on the high school end-of-course-exams, English language arts proficiency rates generally decreased by about eight percentage points and math proficiency rates decreased by approximately 15 percentage points.
  • Across all grade levels, a large majority of districts had a decrease in the percentage of their students scoring proficient or higher from 2019 to 2021. In English language arts, the average decrease in students scoring proficient or above was seven percentage points; in math, the average decrease was 11 percentage points. These changes included decreases in students scoring at the Advanced, Accelerated and Proficient performance levels; with an increase of students scoring in the Basic and Limited range.
Because participation rates were lower during the 2020-2021 school year, especially among Ohio’s vulnerable and lower-performing students, raw performance results from the Spring 2021 state tests may inflate summary measures of student learning. For this reason, the Ohio State analysis estimates scores for non-participants based on past performance and incorporates this information into the estimates of the pandemic’s impact on student learning.
 
Remote Education: As was the case with the analysis of fall 2020 assessment data, there was a marked difference in performance between students in districts that primarily used an in-person education delivery model, compared to students in districts that primarily used a fully remote or hybrid education delivery model.  
  • Participation rates in districts that were primarily fully remote decreased more so than participation rates in districts that were primarily in-person or hybrid (12, seven and nine percentage point decreases respectively).
  • In third-grade English language arts, for each week of remote learning, students’ achievement growth was approximately one-third less than their peers’ learning in fully in-person models.
  • In English languages arts, in grades 5-8 and at the high school level, decreases in achievement in districts that were primarily fully remote were up to two to three times larger than districts primarily using fully in-person education delivery models (Figure 6). Differences across education delivery models were less pronounced in math; find additional data on differences across education delivery models in math.

Figure 6. Differences in proficiency rates on Ohio's 2020-2021 English language arts tests compared to pre-pandemic years were greater in districts that primarily used a fully remote education delivery model.

Graph with Differences in proficiency rates on Ohio's 2020-2021 English language arts tests compared to pre-pandemic years
 

It is important to remember that the 2020-2021 school year did not present perfect conditions for remote education. Students, families and educators faced a wide array of additional challenges all while trying to quickly adjust to teaching and learning through an education delivery model that was entirely new to many. While Ohio-specific and national research suggests students learning through remote education models faced greater challenges in learning during 2020-2021, long term, remote learning can represent an effective tool in developing flexible and personalized learning opportunities for students. For this reason, it is worth continuing to develop, understand and improve upon effective strategies for remote education.
 
Equity Implications: As expected, the pandemic more significantly affected learning for Ohio’s historically underserved students.

  • On the third-grade English language arts test:
    • Overall, participation rates decreased by approximately nine percentage points, but the decrease was more pronounced for Black, Hispanic and Asian-American students (12, 10 and 13, respectively) than for white students (eight percentage points). The decrease in participation rates was similar for economically disadvantaged and non-disadvantaged students (nine percentage points). Participation rates decreased more so in Ohio’s lowest-performing districts (11 percentage points) than in the highest-performing districts (eight percentage points).
 
  • At the same time, the impact of the pandemic on third-grade English language arts proficiency was greater for Black, Hispanic and Asian-American students compared to white students. Based on Ohio’s state tests, students learned roughly 20% less on average in third-grade English language arts during the 2020-2021 school year, compared to prior years. By comparison, Black students learned roughly 40% less, Hispanic students learned roughly 34% less, Asian-American students learned roughly 28% less and white students learned roughly 18% less.
 
Economically disadvantaged students learned roughly 28% less in third-grade English language arts in 2020-2021 compared to a 16% decrease among non-economically disadvantaged students.
 
Ohio’s lowest-achieving third-grade students also saw a greater decrease in English language arts learning during the 2020-2021 school year. By comparison, Ohio’s highest achieving third-grade students learned as much between fall and spring of the 2020-2021 school year as they did during the same time in years prior to the pandemic.
 
  • In grades 5-8:
    • Overall, participation rates decreased by approximately five to seven percentage points. Among Black and Hispanic students, participation rates decreased by approximately eight to 12 percentage points, compared to a range of three to six percentage points among white students. Participation rate decreases for economically disadvantaged students ranged from seven to eight percentage points, compared to a range of three to six percentage points for non-economically disadvantaged students.
    • Differences in proficiency rates among subgroups were greater in English language arts than in math. Decreases in learning in English language arts were two to three times greater among Black students and Hispanic students than among white students. In English language arts, decreases in proficiency rates for Black and Hispanic students ranged from six percentage points to 12 percentage points, compared to a range of three to eight percentage points among white students (Figure 7). Find more information about changes in math proficiency rates by race and ethnicity

Figure 7. Differences in proficiency rates on Ohio's 2020-2021 English language arts tests compared to pre-pandemic years were greater for Black and Hispanic students compared to white students.

Graph with Differences in proficiency rates on Ohio's 2020-2021 English language arts tests compared to pre-pandemic years
  • Decreases in learning were, in general, two to three times greater in English language arts among students who are economically disadvantaged (Figure 8), compared to non-economically disadvantaged students. This pattern holds for homeless students, students with disabilities and English learners.

Figure 8. Differences in proficiency rates on Ohio's 2020-2021 English language arts tests compared to pre-pandemic years were greater for economically disadvantaged students compared to non-economically disadvantaged students.

Graph with differences in proficiency rates on Ohio's 2020-2021 English language arts tests compared to pre-pandemic years

Find more information about changes in math proficiency rates by economic disadvantage.  Detailed results for all subgroups are available in the full report, available on the John Glenn College of Public Affairs website .


District-Level Data Files

Districts have received detailed information regarding these assessments, which can be used to drive improvement conversations at the local level.
 
More details on each district are available in the following files: District Spring 2021 Assessments.
 
Note: These data represent preliminary data from test vendor files that have not been verified through the EMIS submission process. This information should not be considered final and is not comparable to previous Ohio School Report Cards.
 

Using this Information 

The following state-level data provide important context for understanding student experiences during the 2020-2021 school year. In districts and schools across the state, educators are focusing on strategies that are particularly effective at supporting students, including:
  • Engaging in partnerships;
  • Whole-child supports; and
  • High-quality instructional practices and systems.
As schools and districts continue to address recovery needs through these strategies, it is critical that available funding sources are prioritized to support this work. Funding provided by the Coronavirus Act, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act/Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER I) supported these key strategies. This work will continue and improve with support from Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (CRRSS, aka “ESSER II”) and the American Rescue Plan (ARP, aka “ESSER III”).

The information below can inform important conversations about the ways in which Ohio prioritizes the use of these federal funds.

The Department is committed to creating the conditions to support districts and schools in addressing the realities featured in this report. Among the questions guiding the Department’s work are the following:
  • What conditions and supports are needed to keep students safe in school so that they can continue to have access to high-quality academic and whole-child supports?
  • What does this data tell us about persistent inequities? How can state-level supports be designed specifically to address those inequities?
  • How can Ohio use this data to help prioritize the new federal funding to support learning recovery efforts? 
Educators can work across district, building and teacher leadership teams to ask and address questions such as:
  • How will we welcome families and students back into the classroom after having not been enrolled in the public system for the 2020-2021 school year?
  • What data do we have to assess where individual students are in their learning?  
  • In our district, are there particular subgroups of students who need more supports than others? What are strategies for increasing equity across subgroups?
  • How can we collaborate with community organizations to support our students’ needs?
  • How can new federal funding and other resources serve to support our learning recovery efforts?
 

Practical Step-By-Step Processes for Using this Data to Support Students

While the data from early assessments show declines in performance trends, especially for vulnerable groups of students, the focus should be on how to best support students. Test data is one important piece of information but not the only information that should be considered. Schools and educators have access to multiple sources of information that should inform their instructional strategies, student support approaches and decision making. Districts are encouraged to use these data within the Ohio Improvement Process or another similar continuous improvement process.

Based on best practices, schools and districts can take the following actions to develop and implement plans for supporting Ohio’s learners. Schools and districts should use all available data and knowledge of student conditions to inform their work.
 
Bring the Community Together to Identify Concerns and Implement Actions
  1. District and school personnel should start by identifying areas of focus and concern. Does the data show learning lags (by subject? by grade?) for all students or specific student groups? Are the data different than other years? Examine the district or school’s multi-tiered system of support framework. Based on the data, are 80% or more of the students at or above expectations or benchmarks at a specific grade level. If not, examine instructional strategies and materials used to support all students in Tier 1 instruction. It is important to bolster Tier 1 instruction to ensure intervention services are not being overburdened. Examine student progress monitoring data for students accessing Tier 2 and more intensive Tier 3 intervention supports to determine if those supports are accelerating student outcomes. To what extent do school personnel report being connected to their students such that they understand what each child needs?
  2. Bring together key partners within and outside of the district and school. Discuss what each participant is seeing in the community, the data and areas of concern and decide on areas of focus. Partners could include community childcare providers, funders, business, philanthropy, local library administrators, preschool home visiting programs, district administrators, early grade teachers, literacy-focused experts and state support team and educational service center representatives.  
  3. Together, develop a plan to address learning lags:
    • Identify the implementation components and outline an action plan that includes:
      • A timeline;
      • Key personnel;
      • Resources and supports for childcare providers supporting preschool/rising kindergarten and kindergarten-grade 3 students.
      • Specifics of implementation:
        • Student opportunities for instruction, extended learning opportunities, engagement and learning that could be planned for the spring, summer or before the academic year begins in 2021;
        • Professional development for specific instructional strategies;
        • Coaching grade-level teams;
        • Systems structures, including leadership supports, grade-level supports and teacher supports.
    • Measures of success:
      • Establish a process for monitoring progress and implementation of the plan’s strategies.
    • Review the available resources the Department has provided on supporting students as they begin a new school year.
    • Review what national studies are finding (summarized and linked above).
    • Establish a communication plan for families of young learners. Some questions to consider include:
      • What message is being communicated to families about supporting their learners?
      • How were assessment results communicated to students, families and the community?
      • What opportunities are there in the community, school and at home to support learning?
      • Develop a basic message for families and caregivers to explain assessment results. Ensure teachers understand how to explain results and concrete actions families can take to support their young learners.
  4. Host regular meetings with the partners to check on activities and progress.

 

Using the Data to Inform Needed Supports

As educators begin the 2021-2022 school year, itis critically important to understand where individual students are in their learning. In addition to the statewide spring 2021 assessment data, other related data may be useful in planning supports for students.

In the fall of 2021, many districts will administer local formative assessments that will serve as important indicators of student learning.

Ohio’s youngest learners will take Ohio’s Kindergarten Readiness Assessment (KRA-R) and the fall third-grade English language arts assessments.

The KRA-R is a screening assessment. It assesses four areas of early learning:
  1. Social foundations;
  2. Mathematics;
  3. Language and literacy; and
  4. Physical well-being and motor development.
  • For students with overall scores in the Emerging Readiness and Approaching Readiness categories, additional follow up or support is recommended.
  • The language and literacy portion of the KRA-R can be used to meet the reading diagnostic requirement of the Third Grade Reading Guarantee. Students’ language and literacy domain scores can be considered and compared to determine next steps for groups of students.
  • Strengths in language and literacy domain scores can provide some information to consider regarding language and literacy instruction in pre-K programs.
  • Individual student scores can determine areas of strength and need that can inform instruction, as well as indicate areas where additional data is needed.
 
Guiding Questions for KRA-R Data Review
  1. Which students are in the Emerging Readiness category? What schools are they in and what supports are offered to their teachers?
  2. Are there particular schools or classes with a larger number of students in Emerging Readiness? How about Approaching Readiness?
  3. How does the performance of each student group compare to the overall data? If applicable, how do individual schools compare?
  4. How do the scores of students in student groups compare to the overall population?
  5. What skills were most students able to demonstrate? What skills stand out as areas where students need support?
  6. Which students are outliers in a specific domain and require differentiated instruction or enrichment?
 
School Leaders Asked: Our students will complete the KRA in fall 2021, but we are interested in measuring their reading progress throughout the school year. What data can we use to measure our kindergarten students’ reading progress this year and plan for instruction?

An efficient way to measure young learners’ reading progress is through curriculum-based measurements (CBMs). CBMs are screening and progress monitoring assessments. They are used to determine mastery of specific skills or content and allow teachers to assess individual student responsiveness to instruction. CBMs generally consist of short (about one minute) probes that measure specific early literacy skills. At the middle and end of kindergarten, the district or school may want to consider using curriculum-based measures that assess print concepts, phonemic awareness, letter knowledge (sounds and names) and beginning phonics. This information will give the district or school more information on overall kindergarten literacy progress and can help teachers plan for instruction. If intervention is needed, teachers are encouraged to use further diagnostic assessments to plan for individualized intervention. This does not necessarily mean the student receives 1:1 service but the student’s individual needs are planned for when designing the intervention. Diagnostic assessments might consist of informal diagnostics, such as a phonemic awareness or phonics survey, or more formal diagnostics requiring support from trained professionals.


The third-grade English language arts assessment is an outcome assessment, which can help answer the questions:
  • Were goals for students and systems achieved?
  • Did the instruction provided work and, if so, for whom?

The goal of outcome assessments is to know if grade-level expectations have been met. It is important to note the state’s third-grade English language arts assessment measures end-of-year third-grade expectations, even when administered in the fall.
 
School Leaders Asked: What if student performance on the fall 2021 third-grade English language arts assessment was significantly lower than typical and was unexpected given previous progress?
This may be an indication from the outcome assessment that students have experienced gaps in their learning from being out of school or receiving instruction remotely. The district or school can use this information, alongside locally collected data, to inform a district or school’s learning acceleration plan. TNTP has developed a user-friendly guide for planning for acceleration for the next two years. Three important concepts the guide points out include:
 
  •  “Accelerated learning and cultural, social and emotional responsiveness are not mutually exclusive: Learning doesn’t happen at the expense of responsive teaching, or vice-versa. The truth is that a core part of strong instruction is responding to the cultural, social and emotional needs of students. If instructional practices leave students feeling displaced, invisible or unsafe, accelerated learning can’t happen. Likewise, trauma-informed instruction and cultural, social and emotional responsiveness do not require forfeiting strong, grade-level-aligned instruction.
  • Accelerated learning and strong instruction are interdependent: You can’t accelerate learning with poor instructional practices in place, and you can’t have strong instruction if you cannot effectively support unfinished learning. Therefore, it is important to develop your leaders and teachers on the concepts and best practices of accelerated learning and strong instruction.
  • Accelerated learning and strong instruction should not cause further trauma: Educators have the potential to cause trauma. We can cause additional trauma to students by denying them access to a high-quality education, and we can cause trauma by putting systems and structures in place that prevent students from accessing high-quality instruction. We must consistently evaluate and understand the consequences that our instructional decisions have for the children we serve and the adults that support them” (TNTP, April 2020).
Find additional resources for schools supporting Ohio’s learners and their families.
 
1 Students are considered chronically absent when they miss at least 10% of the school year for any reason.
 

2 The majority of Ohio’s students spent at least some time learning remotely during the 2020-2021 school year. Trends in the use of different educational delivery models shifted over time. In early 2021, nearly half (47%) of traditional school students were enrolled in a district offering fully remote education. By mid-April, 77% of Ohio’s students were learning in 5-day in-person models. More information about Ohio’s definitions of education delivery models can be found here. More information about patterns in the use of fully remote, hybrid and 5-day in-person models can be found here.

3 Tracking attendance during the Spring 2020 ordered-school building closure was challenging; absenteeism data from 2019-2020 may reflect those tracking challenges, rather than students’ actual attendance. For the purposes of this analysis, then, the Department is comparing 2020-2021 data to 2017-2018 and 2018-2019 data.

4  More information about Ohio’s district typologies is available on the Department’s webpage here. Ohio’s eight major urban districts include Akron City, Canton City, Cincinnati City, Cleveland Municipal, Columbus City, Dayton City, Toledo City and Youngstown City. Together, these major urban districts represent 12% (184,000 students) of Ohio’s K-12 student enrollment in traditional public districts. This report includes data submitted from seven of Ohio’s eight major urban districts.

5 Center for Reinventing Public Education, 2021, “How Much Have Students Missed Academically Because of the Pandemic? A Review of Evidence to Date.”

6 The full analysis of the Fall 2020 Kindergarten Readiness Assessment (KRA) and Fall 2020 third-grade English language arts test is available in the Department’s report on Data Insights: How the Pandemic is Affecting the 2020-2021 School Year.

Return to Back to School: Resources for Return

Last Modified: 9/8/2021 11:21:20 AM