News recently hit that the 2021 STAAR Reading and Math test scores were significantly lower than those of previous years. Given that students have had to endure the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic as well as the spotty integration of remote learning with in-person classes (aka, “hybrid” learning), it should come as no surprise that students struggled to keep up with the standards for their respective grades.
Considering that there is now data to support what many people have suspected all along, you may be wondering, especially if one of your students has found themselves with an abnormally lower STAAR test score, what are your options for closing the gap of the “pandemic school year.” Fortunately, summer is a great time to proactively take control of your education.
Here are some ways that you can act right now to further improve your academic fundamentals, and these are things that can even work for students who were successful on the STAAR test but may still need some touching up when it comes to math and reading.
(1) Read for 30 minutes every day.
There aren’t too many shortcuts when it comes to mastering reading skills, and one of the easiest -- and most pleasurable -- ways to improve reading is to simply READ! There are, of course, different levels of books and stories that kids can read, but the general recommendation is that they should read chapter-books so that they can invest in a story for a longer period of time while also gaining important comprehension and critical analysis skills.
(2) Take enrichment courses to guide study.
As much as it's a great idea to learn self-reliance and how to study on one’s own, sometimes, especially when it comes to math, it is better to have an instructor explaining concepts and directly helping students correct mistakes. With the onset of summer, there should be many, many options when it comes to taking an enrichment class, and if all else fails, a private tutor or study group can do the trick to refresh your student on concepts from the previous year while also preparing them for the next one.
(3) Review worksheets and tests from the school year.
For a “middle ground” between completely studying on your own and taking a class, you can also collect all the materials from the previous school year and review concepts, practice, and assessments from class. Your teachers go through extensive work to organize their lessons, so you can save yourself time from having to navigate concepts all on your own. Also, since next fall will likely be focused on catching up, you will be ahead of your peers if you take the extra time in summer to review what you should have already learned.
(4) Give yourself time to mentally rest.
Last but not least! When you are working to fill in the gaps from the pandemic school year, it is important to remember that Rome wasn’t built in a day -- in other words, you can’t expect to see huge gains in a short period of time, and you shouldn’t stress yourself out to do so. Be practical and set achievable daily and weekly goals so that your progress is trackable but not unattainable.
Hopefully with the vaccine and the likelihood that schools will return to mostly in-person classes, you won’t have to endure another pandemic school year, so keep your head high knowing that a summer of more intensive preparation can lead to a whole year of getting back on track!
Are you hoping to fill the gaps related to the pandemic school year and need help getting started? We are here to assist you! Check out our Summer Session programs for elementary, middle, and high school students, including academic camps, enrichment classes, preview classes, and test prep! Also, sign up for a 1-1 consultation with one of our directors, who can help you plan out the rest of your summer!