Nov 4, 2020
Developing a coherent, standards-aligned instructional system is challenging even in the best of times; it may be especially difficult to achieve as the COVID-19 pandemic continues. The authors focus on teachers' perceptions of the guidance received on English language arts instruction and instructional system coherence in the first full year of COVID-19 (2020–2021) and how teachers' perceptions compared with the 2019–2020 school year.
Since March 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic has placed unprecedented stresses on the public education system in the United States. Many of these challenges have been operational in nature. Existing research on COVID-19 and teaching has largely focused on teachers' practices and experiences. What has not been examined in the same depth is the guidance that teachers received about instruction during the pandemic and the ways guidance changed from before the pandemic. This work is important, especially as the pandemic continues to affect the provision of in-person learning in the 2021–2022 school year. It is also important to understand how state and district efforts to improve instruction have fared during this unprecedented educational disruption.
Developing a coherent, standards-aligned instructional system is challenging for education leaders and teachers in the best of times, and it may be especially difficult to achieve as the pandemic continues to affect public schooling. This report examines issues of instructional system coherence during the 2020–2021 school year, and how teachers' perceptions compared with the 2019–2020 school year. The authors investigate teachers' perceptions of the (1) guidance they received about English language arts (ELA) instruction, (2) guidance around addressing the needs of traditionally underserved students, (3) coherence of their school's ELA instructional system, and (4) presence of contextual conditions identified through literature as supporting coherence. The authors also explore variation in these findings across grade spans, instructional modes (in-person, remote, hybrid), and focal states (Louisiana, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Tennessee).