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Study finds some students, parents, teachers thrived with new curricula during pandemic

In this file photo, a New York City teacher wears a mask and teaches remotely from her classroom.
Michael Loccisano
Getty Images
In this file photo, a New York City teacher wears a mask and teaches remotely from her classroom.

The Center for Public Research and Leadership at Columbia University released a study Tuesday showing that students, teachers and parents all thrived during the coronavirus pandemic when using high-quality, technology-based instructional materials.

The center studied nine school districts in seven states, including Michigan.

The findings are outlined in the study, titled “Fundamental 4: Pandemic Learning Reveals the Value of High-Quality Instructional Materials to Educator-Family-Student Partnerships.”

With the pandemic sending schools to a remote learning environment, many school districts were forced to adapt and create an online, tech-based curriculum on the fly.

Yet, the study found benefits to the hastily arranged teaching methods. Learning was more accessible in an online format, said Elizabeth Chu, the center’s executive director.

“What we learned in this study is that there are additional things that you should think about when you think about what high-quality is,” said Chu. “Those include materials [and] curriculum that is tech-enabled, tech that is digitally accessible, [and] tech that allows for that school to home connection for kids to learn from anywhere.”

Another area that was greatly improved, according to the study, was communication. Chu pointed to the Detroit Public Schools Community District, a participant in the study, as an example of improved communication between educators and families.

“We heard the Detroit teachers speak in great detail about how having this curriculum — tech-enabled curriculum — in place allowed them to do that communication in really effective ways,” Chu said.

The center also studied schools in Virginia, Connecticut, Mississippi, New York, Colorado and Wisconsin.