The Official Blog of Forecast5 Analytics

Dr. Adam Cibulka
Dr. Adam Cibulka

Decision Support, K-12, Student-Performance, 5Lab, COVID-19, eLearning

Using Data Analytics to Find and Mitigate Learning Loss

Posted on Feb 12, 2021 8:47:05 AM

The challenges we have faced in education this school year have truly been once in a generation. From transitions between remote-only, hybrid, and in-person learning environments to the complex resource challenges involved in supporting staff and students and ensuring their safety if and when they return to campus, the 2020-2021 school year has changed our traditional approach to the way we "do" school.

Many critical challenges still lie ahead, one of which is addressing student learning loss. With so many students across the country still dealing with unreliable internet connections, and both staff and students frequently operating in dual environments (remote and in-person), consistency in learning has been made difficult. Additionally, when learning is possible, students may not have the resources at home to support them in meeting all their learning goals, so that they can remain on track for the next grade and, ultimately, college, career, and life readiness.

We have increasingly seen many districts addressing this problem by using analytics. Districts are taking a step back and asking themselves:

  • At what point is each student now?

  • Where do we need them to be by the end of the school year?

  • How are we going to bridge that learning gap if one currently exists?

Districts are using progress-monitoring tools such as iReady, NWEA MAP, Star Renaissance, and even the SAT/PSAT to identify where students are right now. While certainly there are limitations with any individual assessment, districts are beginning to triangulate that data using each student's most current standardized test score, the student's course grades, and the student's attendance records to determine if the student is on track for next school year, or will need additional resources and support during the second semester.  

Where students are now

From there, districts are already planning for potential summer school and fall 2021-2022 using the results from their progress-monitoring assessments and classroom performance to identify how many intervention classes may be needed to accelerate a child's learning. This is especially true at the elementary and middle-school levels, where scores like those provided by iReady can be used to guide teacher instruction to ensure students are at or above grade level in reading and math by next fall.

Additionally, at the secondary school level, districts are using freshman on-track and early warning indicators to identify students who may fall short on required graduation credits. By using analytics to identify, by name, which students may need additional support to get on track, districts gain immediate insights into the summer or fall interventions that may be needed to enable students to recover those credits.

Keeping students on track

In closing, while the challenges are many, districts are embracing the use of data to make strategic decisions. These strategic decisions provide opportunities for the families and students they serve to not only close the potential learning gaps that may have occurred over the past 12 months, but more importantly, support each and every student to ensure they have access to a high quality, rigorous education.

To learn more about finding and mitigating learning loss using 5Lab, reach out to your 5Lab Advisor or schedule a personal demonstration with a member of our team.


Dr. Adam Cibulka is the Senior Manager for 5Lab with Forecast5 Analytics in Naperville. Prior to joining the Forecast5 team, Adam served in public education as a teacher, department head, assistant principal, and district level administrator. Most recently, Dr. Cibulka was the Director of Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment at DuPage High School District 88, located in Addison, Illinois, where he was responsible for the assessment structures, curricular resources, development of new curriculum, management of Title grants, professional learning communities, teacher evaluation system, and staff development teams. Dr. Cibulka received a Bachelor’s Degree from Wheaton College in History/Social Science Secondary Education and a Master’s (MA) and Doctoral Degree (ED.D.) in Educational Administration from Northern Illinois University.

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