Part 2 of 3 – A Reflection on Spring 2020

Part two focuses on the survey items asking teachers about their experiences transitioning to and implementing remote and distance learning in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.1, 2

Download detailed results here.

    • When schools physically closed, most teachers moved to some form of online instruction: 47% moved primarily to online learning modes and an additional 40% moved to a combination of online learning modes with paper packets.
      • Online instruction differed across grade levels. Elementary teachers used a mix of online and paper packets (49%) more frequently than their high school colleagues (21%). Elementary teachers used online learning (37%) less than their high school peers (68%).

 

    • A majority of teachers (68%) responded that they were able to get in touch with and maintain contact with at least half of their students. Of these, forty-one percent of teachers were able to maintain contact with three-quarters or more of their students. Thirty-two percent of teachers reported being able to maintain contact with fewer than half of their students, with less than one percent of teachers reported having no contact with their students.

 

 

    • Two-thirds of teachers (69%) reported that their students had an adult or older sibling at home to help them with their learning most of the time (21%) or some of the time (49%).
      • Elementary school teachers reported an adult or older sibling at home helped students all or most of the time (29%) more frequently than high school teachers (10%).

 

    • Fourteen percent of teachers reported at least three-quarters of their students were engaged in distance learning while most teachers (60%) reported that between one-quarter and three-quarters of their students were engaged. Twenty-six percent of teachers reported a quarter or less of their students were engaged.

 

 

    • A majority of teachers reported that at least some (46%) or all/most (39%) of their students had access to the internet. Fifteen percent of teachers reported that very few of their students had access to the internet.
      • There were differences in internet access by grade levels. A majority of high school teachers (52%) reported all/most of their students had access to the internet compared to 33% of elementary teachers. Seven percent of high school teachers reported very few students had access to the internet while 20% of elementary teachers reported very few students had access.

 

    • Most teachers reported some (43%) or all/most (35%) of their students had access to a device (e.g., computer, Chromebook, tablet) at the start of the school closures. Twenty-one percent of teachers reported that very few of their students had access to devices.
      • Teachers reported students’ device access differed by grade level. Twenty-five percent of elementary teachers reported all/most of their students had access to a device at the start of the school closure while 55% of high school teachers reported all/most of their students had access to a device.

 

    • A majority of teachers reported schools/districts provided a device (45%), Wi-Fi hotspot (4%), or both (24%) to students. However, 26% of teachers reported that their school/district did not provide devices or Wi-Fi hotspots. There were no differences in the responses of teachers whose students had access to devices or the internet, and teachers whose students had limited access to both.

 

    • A majority of teachers (55%) found it difficult or very difficult to pivot to distance learning. An additional 29% found it not easy but not hard to transition to distance learning. Fifteen percent found it easy or very easy to transition to distance learning.
      • More elementary teachers (63%) found it difficult or very difficult to transition to distance learning than high school teachers (44%).

 

    • One quarter of the teachers who responded reported that they felt prepared or very prepared for the move to online. A substantial majority of teachers reported that they were only somewhat prepared (41%) or not prepared at all (35%) for distance learning.
      • Almost half of elementary teachers (45%) felt not prepared for moving to online learning while only 22% of high school teachers felt unprepared.

 

    • Just over a half of teachers (55%) experienced an increase in the hours they worked per week during distance learning with a significant increase reported by 30% of teachers and some increase reported by 25% of teachers. Twenty-one percent of responding teachers reported that the hours they worked stayed the same while 24% said their hours of work decreased.

 

    • The shift to online instruction required teachers to rely extensively on their personal resources.
      • Almost all teachers (94%) reported using their personal Wi-Fi connections to connect with students. Many teachers used their personal phones (78%) and computers (67%).
      • Over two-thirds of teachers (75%) reported using learning platforms (e.g., Seesaw, Google Classroom, etc.) and 72% used other software (e.g., Microsoft products, Zoom, etc.).

 

    • A majority of teachers reported shared documents, lesson plans, and/or activities (71%), live video conferencing (68%) and digital resources aligned to the curriculum (62%) were the most helpful in delivering distance learning.
      • Elementary school teachers reported printed packets and digital books were among the most helpful resources for delivering distance learning, while middle and high school teachers were less likely to identify these as helpful.

 

    • In most classes, the work students completed during distance learning was either not graded (41%) or it was graded but could only increase student’s grades (42%). Twelve percent of teachers continued traditional grading.
      • The work students completed during distance learning was most likely to be graded at the high school (92%) level whereas 33% of elementary teachers reported grading work.

 

    • Thirty-nine percent of teachers felt that very few or no special education students had their needs met, while another 42% of teachers felt that some special education students had their needs met. Nineteen percent of teachers reported that most special education students’ needs were met.

 

    • A majority of teachers (55%) had responsibility for teaching special education students while 39% did not.
      • Fewer elementary teachers (49%) reported having responsibility for teaching special education students compared to their high school colleagues (63%). These differences may be attributable to the differences in the number of students assigned to teachers by grade level and the process for identifying special education students.

 

    • Most teachers (75%) felt that either some (45%) or very few (30%) English Language Learner (ELL) students had their needs served during the school closures due to COVID-19. Sixteen percent of teachers reported that all or most of ELL student’s needs were being met.

 

    • Teachers reported regular check ins with families (43%), videos (38%), and providing students with extra support (e.g., scaffolding, understanding directions, and completing assignments) (36%) worked well with ELL students.
      • Fifty percent of elementary school teachers reported that regular family check ins with the families of ELL students were effective compared to 30% of high school teachers.

 

    • Teachers reported identifying preferred methods of communication (42%) and providing school/district communications in their native language (34%) worked well in communicating with the parents/caregivers of ELLs during distance learning.
      • More elementary teachers (47%) reported identifying preferred methods of communication as an effective strategy compared to 34% of high school teachers.

    1 There was a small subset of teachers who did not respond to these questions. The number of teachers who did not respond ranged from 7 to 220, depending upon the question, and represent a maximum of 2% of the teachers who participated in the survey.

    2 Percentages may not add up because of rounding.