The most effective way to address learning gaps for K-12 students with disabilities during the COVID-19 pandemic is to deliver one-on-one or small-group interventions, a research brief from the Annenberg Institute at Brown University and Results for America suggests. The latest in a series of reports from the EdResearch for Recovery Project aimed at "guiding schools' COVID-19 recovery decisions using data and evidence," the brief, Academic supports for students with disabilities (5 pages, PDF), notes that students with disabilities are among those who have experienced the greatest learning losses during this period of COVID-related distance learning. What's more, co-teaching strategies in which a special education teacher supports students with disabilities in a general classroom setting are insufficient to meet the current needs of those students, while postponing evaluations to evaluate a student's eligibility for special education services because of the pandemic will likely lead to more difficulties for the student later on. Because the single most important service schools provide for students with disabilities is additional intervention time devoted to their individual need, the brief's authors argue, special educators' time would be best spent in small-group or one-to-one interventions three to five times per week, and such interventions should be supported with regular data collection to monitor students' academic and behavioral progress and inform instruction-related decisions.
(Photo credit: Annenberg Institute at Brown University)