This week’s episode explores whether students lost ground academically during the pandemic and how colleges should respond if so.

College students almost certainly lost ground academically during the pandemic. But do we know how much? And what should colleges do about it? 

This week’s episode explores a free report Inside Higher Ed published in December, “Back on Track: Helping Students Recover From COVID-19 Learning Disruption.” 

It examines the available evidence about how the pandemic affected students’ educational paths, and finds, somewhat unsurprisingly, that most colleges really don’t know whether their students suffered what in the K-12 context is often called “learning loss” or “learning disruption.” But that doesn’t mean they aren’t adapting their practices and policies in areas such as placement, instruction, grading and assessment to help students make up whatever ground they’ve lost.

Participating in this discussion are Natasha Jankowski, a higher education and assessment consultant and former executive director of the National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment; Matthew Gunkel, chief online learning and technology officer for the University of Missouri System; and Michael Hale, vice president of education at VitalSource.

This episode is made possible by the support of


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