Schwartz & Kerr: To Help Guide Decisions About COVID, Schools and Students, Researchers Are Compiling Decades of Data in Easy-to-Read Briefs. Here’s Some of What They’ve Found

The 74
EdResearch for Recovery

By NATE SCHWARTZ AND SARA KERR

In recent months, as schools nationwide scrambled to respond to the challenges posed by COVID-19, state and local education leaders have reached out to ask us: What does research say about how to prevent learning loss? About how to prepare teachers for distance learning? About how to address the mental health and other needs of students and educators during a crisis? About how to reduce the impact of budget cuts?

We’ve fielded dozens of questions like these from state education agencies, school districts, education organizations and advocacy groups. Education leaders and practitioners are under enormous pressure, facing some of the most complex decisions of their careers. They want to ground their decisions in the best available evidence and data but don’t have time to wade through peer-reviewed papers and randomized controlled trials to find evidence-based answers to these questions.

The good news is that education researchers are eager to sift through decades of research to provide actionable, evidence-based insights to help guide these decisions. In a new project called EdResearch for Recovery, a collaboration of the Annenberg Institute for School Reform at Brown University and Results for America, we crowdsourced the most pressing questions from policymakers, educators, parents and other advocates, and we enlisted leading researchers from across the country to quickly but rigorously synthesize the relevant research into easy-to-digest evidence briefs.

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