Earlier this week we posted a brief commentary on one of the aspects of this report that we fear will become the norm as the organizations, the media, and researchers begin to examine the impact of remote learning on K-12 schooling (see Starting to Examine Remote Learning: And So it Begins…). Today we wanted to look at some of the useful things that the data presented in the study actually found. As a reminder, the full report can be found at:
The methodology is described in the report as:
The CTF/FCE survey was conducted in both official languages from June 1 to June 18, 2020, and collected a total of 15,119 completed responses. When combined with the 2,324 completed responses from the random stratified sample of the comparable survey conducted by the ATA, results in this analysis are based on a total from 17,443 Canadian teachers from coast to coast to coast. (p. 1)
The timeline of this data collection is important, as it was shortly before the school year ended in most jurisdictions and came after a two to four week break in March-April of no school and then one and a half to two full months of remote learning. A few of the findings that stood out.
Majority of Teachers Believe Several Student Groups in Their Classes Are Handling Online Instruction Negatively
When asked to rate how they thought examined groups of students in their classes were handling online instruction during the COVID-19 pandemic, a majority of teachers surveyed expressed concern for several student groups. When “not applicable” responses are factored out, the situation is emphasized even further. Note that the share of “Not applicable” responses is reported to be as high as 51% with respect to Refugee Students (see table on next page).
Majority of Respondents Believe the Following Student Groups in their Classes Are Handling Online Instruction “Very Negatively” or “Negatively”
- 80% of respondents with respect to students in poverty (89% when “Not applicable” responses are excluded).
- 76% of respondents with respect to students with exceptionalities (83% when “Not applicable” responses are excluded).
- 74% of respondents with respect to students in single parent homes (79% when “Not applicable” responses are excluded).
- 60% of respondents with respect to students with English as a Second Language (77% when “Not applicable” responses are excluded).
- When “Not applicable” response are excluded, a majority of respondents also believe the following student groups in their classes are handling online instruction “very negatively” or “negatively”:
- 74% with respect to First Nations, Métis and Inuit students
- 52% with respect to visible minority students
- 52% with respect to LGBTQ2S+ students
This is quite a common finding. Students who are generally not served well by the K-12 school system were also not served well or not served at all in the remote learning environment.
The number of students that accessed their remote learning using a mobile device was interesting. The way the question was phrases was focused on what device respondents thought that students accessed the internet for learning – so not necessarily for remote learning, and one would assume that it would largely depend on the nature of remote learning that was provided and the tools that were used.
This table was interesting, as it focused how teacher communicated and/or connected with specific groups of individuals – based on their own self-report and self-reflection (i.e., not based on a collection of data from those tools).
The same data, just presented by the group with whom the teacher was communicating or connecting with. When presented this way, it doesn’t surprise that email was the main form of communication with all groups.
This data was introduced with the following statement:
When surveyed regarding 4 areas of student readiness, an overwhelming majority of teachers report that they have all respectively worsened during the COVID-19 pandemic. When ”unsure” responses are factored out, this negative impact is even further amplified. (p. 19)
This finding is directly related to the lack of teacher readiness (see our special report entitled Teacher Education and K-12 Online Learning). It shouldn’t surprise respondents that the students weren’t ready to learn in remote contexts or that the students weren’t ready to learn in disrupted settings – neither were teachers.
This speaks to the first set of data that was presented above.
Finally, the qualitative data that was shared – at least related to “Technology Use and Online Instruction” – was:
Representative Responses: What concerns or questions do you have about the impact of digital technologies used during the pandemic?
“High needs students are affected by technology as it does not offer the support required to completed their school work. Many students are staying up all night gaming, and too tired to complete their school work. Many students feel isolated in homes that suffer from violence, poverty and mental health concerns.”
05/29/2020 Response id: 50
“I’ve had students complain about the number of notifications/emails they get, which leads them to feel overwhelmed and sometimes they just “turn off”. I personally do not use synchronous learning tools because I have too many concerns about the impact on me and my students. Many of my students are working during the day, so it is unrealistic for me to expect them to log on at a specific time. Many of them also have data limits on their internet, and live video eats up their data.”
05/29/2020 Response id: 262
“At first students were excited to see each other on google meets with all video on and smiling. Now there are few to none. Students are keeping very irregular hours for sleep. Avoidance behaviors are prevalent.”
06/01/2020 Response id: 788
“I know what sitting in front of a computer all day long has done to my mental and physical health therefore I am concerned about the effect of this style of learning has on some of my students. Couple this style of learning with self isolation and there are bound to be mental and physical health issues arise.”
06/01/2020 Response id: 1242
“Online platforms suck out alot of bandwidth from a household. Then, if multiple siblings are online at the same time connections fail or students can’t talk without cutting in and out. It stops the flow of the learning.”
06/02/2020 Response id: 2871
“Les élèves disent qu’ils s’ennuient de leurs amis. Certains sont pris dans des appartements au centre-ville et ne sortent jamais dehors.”
06/04/2020 Response id: 7069
“I worry about students wellbeing when they never/seldom connect online. I have a concern about my students with cognitive disabilities who cannot participate in online classes.”
06/19/2020 Response id: 20694 ”
“Trop de temps d’exposition aux écrans. Diminution de l’activité physique et de d’interaction sociale.”
06/19/2020 Response id: 20721
The thing that stands out the most is that the 8 representative open-ended comments from up to 15,119 potential respondents were all negative.