The Ridiculousness of Learning Loss (John Ewing)
At Forbes, we get this little gem, whch spends some time talking about opening schools, but also addresses LL clearly:
Of course, the term "learning loss" comes from the language of test enthusiasts. For them, learning is a substance that's poured into students over time. One measures the accumulated substance by the number of correct answers on a test (standardized, usually multiple-choice). By administering two comparable tests at different moments in time, one measures success or failure for learning. An increase in correct responses is gain; a decrease is loss.
Is Learning Lost When Kids Are Out of School? (Alfie Kohn)
Kohn offers a good broad look at the issues involved, back in September of 2020 when the angst was jkust building. But Kohn knows the field and the studies.
In fact, some studies have shown that the capacity for thinking not only isn’t lost over the summer but may show greater gains then than during the school year. As Peter Gray at Boston College, who reviewed some of that research, puckishly proposed, “Maybe instead of expanding the school year to reduce a summer slide in calculation, we should expand summer vacation to reduce the school-year-slide in reasoning.”
Pica is always a champion of the littles, and she offers some helpful common sense here.
I’m sorry, but how devastating could it be? What learning, specifically, is being lost? The ability to meet unrealistic standards imposed on them by people who don’t understand child development, including the ridiculous expectation that they read and write by the end of kindergarten? The capacity to fill in worksheets or stare at a computer screen, or to take useless tests? The ability to handle pressure they should never have been exposed to in the first place?
What 'learning loss' really means. (Rachael Gabriel)
Guesting at Valerie Strauss's Washington Post blog, Gabriel. The unlearning expert has perhaps the most radical take on this, but worth the read. What is happening now?
It is loss of a previously imagined trajectory leading to a previously imagined future. Learning is never lost, though it may not always be “found” on pre-written tests of pre-specified knowledge or preexisting measures of pre-coronavirus notions of achievement.
The legacy of the standards movement of the 1990s, and the high-stakes testing it inspired in the early 2000s, is a version of education that is assumed not to exist or matter unless or until it is predicted and measured. The pandemic has illustrated with searing definition how wrong that assumption is.
Learning Loss Is Just Educational Halitosis (Peter Greene)
Yes, this was me at Forbes, comparing Learning Loss to Listerine's marketing genius as a solution in search of a problem.
It’s not that they made up bad breath. But they gave it a scientific-sounding name which provided a perfect hook for selling their product. Fake science, it turns out, is great for marketing.
A lot of corporate reformers are desperately trying to find a way to cash in right now, and learning loss is the new favorite tool. Something has certainly happened to schooling this year, but it's far more useful to talk about what really has gone on and not simply try to make up a panic for marketing purposes.