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Math Learning Gaps Threaten the “COVID Generation,” It’s Time to Act

San Diego CA— When the global pandemic shuttered schools across the U.S. in March, the concept of the “COVID slide” became a new term in our vocabulary. It refers to a pattern of learning loss that typically happens over summer break, but more severe due to extended school closures. The COVID slide means that students may start the 2020-2021 school year substantially behind in their education and will continue to struggle this year — and potentially well beyond.

Academic experts agree that math has been the hardest hit subject. The NWEA, which offers state-aligned tests that measure academic progress, predicts children in elementary school will experience the biggest slide in their math skills and comprehension, especially if they had math learning gaps before the pandemic. But the impact straddles all grade levels. And for college-bound students, those math learning gaps could easily translate to lower GPAs and reduced standardized test scores. Unlike most other academic subjects, math knowledge is cumulative, so math learning loss must be remedied before students can move forward.

Math educators know that the effects of early math learning gaps are both wide-ranging and long-lasting. Children who never fully understood how fractions work, for example, will struggle in algebra later. But math learning gaps impact more than just school grades. A lack of math competency often leads to a lack of self-confidence, limited choices for higher education.

Principals, teachers and parents are all worried. In a survey by the Association of American Educators Foundation, 52% of teachers said their primary concern was students would struggle to learn in a virtual environment or fall behind academically. Their fears were born out, as many a Facebook meme testified. The typical model of virtual learning — one teacher for many students, worksheets emailed home — has left some students feeling bored or confused and their parents feeling frustrated or helpless.

The instability leaves both teachers and students at a disadvantage. Teachers are continuing to make heroic efforts: This year, many of them will have to teach a class where children may be multiple grade-levels apart in their knowledge. Especially in schools with large class sizes, it’s impossible to provide customized learning that will reverse the COVID slide learning loss for each child. The inability to focus on the individual child is part of why “pod-based learning,” which allows students to learn in small groups, is on the rise.

Parents are seeking guidance from educators or industry experts to reverse their child’s learning loss. Mathnasium — world-renowned for its ability to change lives through math — has a well-rounded program specially designed to pinpoint student’s individualized needs in math, and then address them with customized curriculum, taught live, face-to-face (and socially distant) instruction. Students get the tools they need to stay on track and tackle concepts they’ll encounter this school year. Mathnasium’s standard programs work with children of all ages, including high school.


About Mathnasium

North America’s leading, math-only supplemental education franchise, Mathnasium teaches math so that children understand it, master it, and love it. The Mathnasium Method has transformed the lives of children in grades K-12 since 2002. With more than 1,300 learning centers worldwide, Mathnasium is transforming students’ lives through math with tutoring and enrichment programs, homework help, and test prep services (including SAT/ACT) in-person and online through Mathnasium@home.