How SmartScore Minimized Learning Loss During the Pandemic

03/03/2023 06:54 AM Comment(s) By Katherine Holden

Clarify Expectations and Provide Timely Feedback

Almost all states, understandably, experienced learning loss during the pandemic. It turns out that it does matter if kids are in school on-site! However, by having a strong proficiency-based system in place, the learning loss can be minimized. Ashland Middle School had already developed and used high-leverage priority standards, and had clear and objective Essential Learning Rubrics that were used schoolwide as instructional and assessment tools before the pandemic. This allowed our staff to maintain high-quality teaching and learning even with fewer instructional minutes and a distance learning setting.


In comparison to the state average, Ashland Middle School showed a significantly lower decrease in standardized assessment scores in both English Language Arts and Math during the pandemic. While the state average dropped by 10% in English Language Arts and 11% in Math between 2019 and 2022, AMS students’ scores decreased by only 1% in English Language Arts and 9% in Math over the same period. Before the pandemic, 70% of AMS students were meeting or exceeding expectations in English Language Arts on Smarter Balanced, and after the pandemic, that number only dropped by 1% to 69%. In contrast, the state average dropped from 54% to 44%. Similarly, AMS increased the performance gap over the state in Math, outperforming the state by 18% before the pandemic and 20% after.


Students know how to improve and learn more easily when we clarify our expectations for students and ensure they know what is expected of them, make it easy for them to understand what teachers want them to do, and provide good, quick, concrete feedback through scored rubrics in SmartScore. 

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