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Education Partnership Promises Learning Loss Remedies

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As the education community across the globe contends with the challenges exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, two internationally footed education technology companies today announced a partnership aimed at equipping educators with analytics that pinpoint where children lost ground and curriculum that remediates the deficiencies.

Lincoln Learning Solutions, based in western Pennsylvania, and FocalPoint, of Atlanta, are hopeful the collaboration will make great strides towards closing learning gaps for students and improving report cards for schools.

“We recognize that there’s the usual learning loss that results over a typical summer break, but the pandemic has taken it to a new level,” FocalPoint CEO, Kiran Athota, said. “The granular data we’re able to cull and provide marries perfectly with LLS’s granular approach to individualized learning.”

He said FocalPoint specializes in improving student outcomes and teacher effectiveness through platforms that collect xAPI data, which is the most current technology available to harvest precision formative and benchmark evidence to enhance decision-making.

Lincoln Learning Solutions CEO, Bob Clements, said Lincoln Empowered curriculum, written by educators to create specific learning objectives derived from academic standards, dovetails with FocalPoint’s abilities to measure data, aggregate the information and get a true snapshot of where a child is to assist in determining his or her learning path. 

Because both organizations place a high value on the necessity to drill down in order to properly understand a student’s learning experience and deliver targeted content that resonates with that student, the partnership stands on a solid foundation. The constant nature of the granular philosophy, the CEOs said, is helpful to students, teachers and administrators alike.

“We’re establishing the educational equivalent of an ER. We triage and treat as a team, identifying students who are most in need and creating individual plans of care to get them back on the path to educational health,” Clements, said.

Today, he said, we are living in a world where outcomes are increasingly, if not solely, determined by algorithms and data. Many schools – especially those who had little experience with online learning prior to the pandemic – are discovering that they can’t or don’t know how to apply the information they have to work for their students.

“We often find ourselves bogged down under the weight of the data, missing the points that tell the whole story, or plainly looking at a scrambled assembly of elemental data that we probably could make good use of if only we could articulately synthesize it,” Athota said. “Having these data capabilities paired with the elemental nature of the Lincoln Empowered curriculum will unlock the ability to pin down specific instances of a child’s learning loss and provide a way to make up that difference.

At this crucial time, he said it is essential that schools have the tools they need to hone their mitigation strategies and evidence-based remediation efforts, which are critical to qualifying for federal funding through their state education departments and agencies. 

Giving schools an online curriculum powered by a learning management system that collects data on each student’s use of the curriculum and includes early warning systems for those at risk is certainly helpful for those in need of solutions. The ability to attribute performance measures to more than just answering a question correctly or incorrectly broadens the field of vision and clarity on a given student’s learning path. 

“What we are trying to do here, essentially, is to address a national problem with local accuracy by clearly identifying learning loss and offering adaptive remediation solutions,” Clements said. “Even prior to the pandemic, disparities among schools and districts contributed to inequitable learning opportunities. We have an opportunity now to address these losses no matter their cause.”