How has COVID has affected student learning and assessment?

We are in the midst of the COVID pandemic right now. Schools have closed and re-opened. See have closed again. Teaching has moved from face-to-face to an online mode for lockdowns where they can. This is a completely new mode of delivery for school-aged students. Technology has been present in classroom education for at least 20 years now. But this is different. Technology is being utilised for delivery and instruction. This is a very novel approach for many teachers and students.

Stress, anxiety, illness, and being forced to learn in a different mode leads many to new thoughts and feelings about teaching and learning. Students may feel overwhelmed, teachers exhausted from the additional workload of preparing everything for online delivery (I can speak from experience). It has been very challenging. Teachers undertook that change to online learning very swiftly, and for many there was no formal training for it. There was no time to prepare. Additionally, lack of contact with students and colleagues means it is difficult to remain buoyant and energised.

Overcoming Challenges

Many challenges are found in online teaching and learning which currently do not have answers. How does reliable assessment take place? How does teaching and learning continue at the same pace, depth, and quality we are accustomed to in the face-to-face environment? How do we develop our pedagogy and instruction to meet the online mode? These questions do not have an answer at present. It is very likely that fluctuations between face-to-face and online teaching and lining will continue over the next 12-24 months as the COVID virus moves through the population.

As teachers, we need to continue to move forward and work to the best of our current knowledge and understanding. This is to ensure our students can maintain the standards of learning they are accustomed to. COVID should not be a reason for students to fall behind. However, for some it may unfortunately already be the case.

Student Assessment

Student assessment during COVID may have been impacted more than is typical by stress and anxiety. Having to complete assessments in a form different from what they are accustomed to, many students may have struggled to complete learning tasks required for an assessment. Thus, the groundwork needed to be covered was not there. Assessments completed during online learning may not best reflect a students’ knowledge and understanding due to the above factors. That assessment may not be a reliable indicator of a students progress.

Furthermore, during COVID online learning, students could have experienced defects in their learning. The new approaches taken by teachers in the online mode may mean that content is not as readily taught and learning not as deep. Some adjustments have been made by various curriculum authorities for crucial assessments and other  requirements for Year 12 students. However, this may not be enough to adjust for the impact on student learning and progress.

Variance in assessments

The variance in classroom instruction during COVID can create variance in assessment results. The ability to compare one student to another on the same assessment becomes difficult. The ongoing pandemic may further exacerbate this situation. The impact may be seen for several years to come. The impact COVID has had on student learning is unknown at this time and as the pandemic rolls on, we may see more and more variance in student assessment results.

© teacher-motivation 2020

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