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The Challenges of Implementing Academic COVID Recovery Interventions: Evidence from the Road to Recovery Project
In this paper we examine academic recovery in 12 mid- to large-sized school districts across 10 states during the 2021–22 school year. Our findings highlight the challenges that recovery efforts faced during the 2021–22 school year. Although, on average, math and reading test score gains during the school year reached the pace of pre-pandemic school years, they were not accelerated beyond that pace. This is not surprising given that we found that districts struggled to implement recovery programs at the scale they had planned. In the districts where we had detailed data on student participation in academic interventions, we found that recovery efforts often fell short of original expectations for program scale, intensity of treatment, and impact. Interviews with a subsample of district leaders revealed several implementation challenges, including difficulty engaging targeted students consistently across schools, issues with staffing and limitations to staff capacity, challenges with scheduling, and limited engagement of parents as partners in recovery initiatives. Our findings on the pace and trajectory of recovery and the challenges of implementing recovery initiatives raise important questions about the scale of district recovery efforts.
Citation: Maria V. Carbonari, Miles Davison, Michael DeArmond, Daniel Dewey, Elise Dizon-Ross, Dan Goldhaber, Ayesha Hashim, Thomas J. Kane, Andrew McEachin, Emily Morton, Tyler Patterson, Douglas O. Staiger (2022). The Challenges of Implementing Academic COVID Recovery Interventions: Evidence from the Road to Recovery Project. CALDER Working Paper No. 275-1222