How Pre-AP Addresses Unfinished Learning
Published Recommendations—and How Pre-AP Meets Them
Pre-AP meets and exceeds guidance published by leading educational organizations in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Education. Here’s how Pre-AP addresses recommendations from the Council of the Great City Schools (CGCS):
- Stick to grade-level content and instructional rigor. Pre-AP resources define and model grade-level-appropriate content and skill expectations.
- Focus on the depth of instruction, rather than the pace. Focused content and skills allow the time for deeper engagement with content.
- Prioritize content and learning. Course frameworks focus on the content and skills that are most impactful for AP, college, and career readiness.
- Maintain the inclusion of each and every learner. As part of their participation in the program, schools confirm that the course is open to all students. Pre-AP model lessons include practical recommendations for teachers to scaffold and adapt lesson content to address the unique needs of all learners in meeting grade-level expectations.
- Identify and address gaps in learning through instruction, avoiding the misuse of standardized testing. Resources include many opportunities to understand student progress and strategically adapt instruction.
- Focus on the commonalities that students share in this time of crisis—not just their differences. Pre-AP shared instructional principles encourage authentic student collaboration and dialogue, allowing each student to have a voice as an active participant in the learning community.
How Federal Funding Supports Programs That Address Lost Instructional Time
In the ED COVID-19 HANDBOOK, Volume 2: Roadmap to Reopening Safely and Meeting All Students’ Needs, the U.S. DOE states:
“Initial research shows the disproportionate impact of the pandemic on the achievement of students who were already underserved, including students of color . . . Accelerating learning provides opportunities for students to learn at grade level rather than through tracking or remediation, which can narrow educational opportunities for students and might lead them to become disengaged.”
In-school acceleration guidance encourages “teacher leaders and district instructional leaders to identify critical content (e.g., “priority” or “power” standards) on which to focus. To avoid overwhelming students, focus on the most essential knowledge and skills, particularly the content that is foundational to subsequent grade levels.”
To facilitate greater equity in access to high-quality grade-level instruction, there’s no per student charge for use of Pre-AP course resources. Instead, the Pre-AP course fee covers an unlimited number of teachers and students in the school.
How—and Why—Experts Recommend Grade-Level Instruction
Council of the Great City Schools
In collaboration with Student Achievement Partners, Lawrence Hall of Science, and the Vermont Writing Collaborative, the Council of the Great City Schools published Addressing Unfinished Learning After COVID-19 School Closures, and makes the following recommendations:
“In planning instruction for the coming school years, districts should:
- stick to grade-level content and instructional rigor, and
- focus on the depth of instruction, rather than the pace. To provide this grade-level instruction, districts will need to help teachers
- prioritize content and learning. In order to continue to reflect a districts’ [sic] instructional vision and commitment to equity, educators will also need to
- maintain the inclusion of each and every learner and
- identify and address gaps in learning through instruction, avoiding the misuse of standardized testing to place kids into high or low ability groups or provide low levels of instructional rigor to lower performing students. Finally, districts should consider
- focusing on the commonalities that students share in this time of crisis, not just on their differences.”
The New Teacher Project (TNTP)
In its publication Learning Acceleration Guide: Accelerating Learning in the 2020-21 School Year, TNTP states:
“Providing students equitable access to grade-appropriate assignments focused on this year’s priority content is one of the most pressing challenges facing school and system leaders right now.” They also note in The Opportunity Myth, “When students who started the year behind had greater access to grade-appropriate assignments, they closed the outcomes gap with their peers by more than seven months.”
Addressing Unfinished Learning After COVID-19 School Closures
This document focuses on the instructional challenges posed by school closures. In particular, district curriculum leaders and staff are presented with an instructional framework for addressing unfinished learning and learning losses, as well as a review of essential skills and content in English language arts and mathematics to support access to grade-level content in key grade transitions for all students.