Improving Pandemic Recovery Efforts in Education Agencies

Teacher checking in on students writing
Support for this work was provided by the AIR Equity Initiative.

In the wake of instructional challenges faced over the past two school years, districts across the country are currently making important decisions about which interventions and strategies to implement to aid with COVID recovery. Understanding which interventions work best for students, and how to best implement them, is critical as we collectively move forward. There is clear evidence that COVID exacerbated preexisting inequities in our schools, as students of color (Black and Hispanic students) and students in higher poverty schools experienced larger COVID learning loss than other students. These disparities threaten the decades-long progress the nation has made on closing the racial/ethnic achievement gaps.  

To be blunt, the pandemic put the nation in a deep academic hole. Unless we climb out, many students will face diminished life prospects and social inequity will increase.

- Dan Goldhaber, Testimony to U.S. Senate

Researchers from AIR's National Center for Analysis of Longitudinal Data in Education Research (CALDER), Harvard's Center for Education Policy and Research, and NWEA are partnering with a coalition of districts across the country to help determine which COVID recovery interventions are working (or not working), which students they are helping, and why. We aim to maximize the potential of this research to practically inform each district’s recovery efforts, as well as offer insights to the larger field.


  1. Learn how various recovery strategies (e.g., summer enrichment programs, Saturday school, tutoring, etc.), implemented in different ways, are affecting student achievement in districts across the country;
  2. Provide rapid and practical feedback to practitioners in participating NWEA school districts so they can make appropriate adjustments to those strategies; and
  3. Inform the field more broadly about the efficacy of district efforts to help students recover academically from the COVID-19 pandemic.

These data are important to gather now, as recovery from the pandemic will likely be a multi-year process. Moreover, this project affords participating districts the opportunity to determine how well their recovery efforts are working in the moment and which students they are benefitting, and, when appropriate, make mid-year adjustments to their recovery strategies. 

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