Education Reform Amid A Pandemic

by | Oct 19, 2020

Is education reform possible right now?

It is undeniable that the covid 19 pandemic shook the world of education. It is also undeniable that real education reform is difficult in the best of times.  

In the spring of 2020 the routines and practices that we all had come to rely on in k-12 schools ground to a halt as schools closed and educators, students, and parents alike were all left unsure of what the future held.

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Not only is it possible to create change during this trying time – the trying time itself placed a magnifying glass over areas of education that could (and probably should) be changed.

A shift in the paradigm of education 

Teaching during a pandemic

This dynamic paradigm shift first took the stage as many school closures forced the cancelation of standardized testing in the spring. It has continued as schools reopen (some closing and reopening repeatedly) in new and innovative forms that make formal assessments more difficult. 

  • Online classes make the traditional test proctoring difficult.
  • Hybrid and split classes make it difficult to keep all students at the same pace.
  • Mass absences and lack of staff challenge consistency and planning 

It is this crack in the substrate of the traditional model that has allowed us to being to so a new way and a path for education reform during a pandemic.

Without the usual data to go by teachers are left to embrace new forms of informed practices.  

Assessment as a tool, not an outcome 

Testing bubble sheet filled in


A renewed process-over-product approach to teaching and learning continues to grow out of necessity by celebrating the non-data victories. 

This approach whether it is face-to-face, hybrid, or virtual (or something in-between) offers a renewed motivation for teachers and students as well as a return to an emphasis on learning over-testing.

Data still has a significant role in the world of education and is necessary when vetting methods and examining practices, progress, and approaches, but by learning to recognize this new opportunity to celebrate the non-data victories in education we can reshape how we define success for our students and for teachers.

Time will tell if this education reform that will stick or just an adjustment with the times (as so much is right now), but by giving teachers the tools to recognized students successes and challenges, achievements and proficiencies in more diverse ways we grow the educational system even during these difficult times.


Want to learn more about Non-Data Victories (and their pre-Covid role)? Check out these articles:

Celebrating NDV (Non-Data Victories) Part 1 

Celebrate NDV (Non-Data Victories Part 2 

Share in the comments how your assessments have changed throughout the pandemic teaching.


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