Learning gain rather than learning loss during COVID-19: A proposal for reframing the narrative

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“Learning loss” has become the new buzzword in education during the COVID-19 era. Learning loss may be real in certain academic subjects (e.g. mathematics and reading) for certain students, as indicated by standardized test scores. However, it only tells a partial story. The other part of the story actually indicates different kinds of learning gain that might have occurred for children experiencing non-conventional learning opportunities during the COVID-19 pandemic. Thus, the authors caution against subscribing to a learning-loss narrative, a deficits-based perspective, which can lead one to lose sight of children's potential learning gains that are not necessarily assessed or recognized. Against this backdrop, the authors offer four recommendations: (1) reframing the concept of “learning loss” to “learning gain”; (2) applying a strengths-based model rather than a deficits-based model for understanding student learning; (3) investing in the development of the whole child; and (4) ensuring that we focus on young children's socio-emotional well-being (e.g. relationship-building) and not solely on the cognitive domains.

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Contemporary Issues in Early Childhood

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