COVID-19 forced all of us to adapt how we taught and how our students learned during the 2019-20, 2020-21, and even the current 2021-22 school year. And while remote/virtual/distance learning helped to fill a gaping void in students’ academic lives, the effect that the disruption of being in and out of school had on academic progress for many students is staggering.

It’s crucial that educators take swift and decisive action to reinforce academic foundations and support social-emotional well-being to accelerate learning to propel growth. Accelerated learning models provide intense and intentional support in 1-to-1 or small-group tutoring settings to reinforce essential foundational skills and knowledge in literacy and math. Rather than pausing new grade-level learning to remediate the learning that was disrupted (which has shown to actually further widen learning gaps), accelerated learning models prioritize skills and concepts necessary to grasp grade-level instruction by focusing on prior grade-level standards that are crucial to grade-level learning, which increases engagement and expedites growth.

How COVID Has Affected Learning

Early studies by McKinsey & Company estimated that students could lose up to 12 months of learning during the 2020-21 academic year.* More recently, a survey performed by the Horace Mann Educators Corporation revealed that 80% of K-12 educators believe that students are behind between three and 12 months in learning; another 5% felt that students were behind more than 12 months. The long-term impact on all students – especially those who were already struggling academically before the pandemic – must be addressed with targeted instruction designed to prepare students for grade-level work as quickly as possible.

For non-public schools, financial relief has come in the form of Emergency Assistance to Non-Public Schools, or EANS, federal funding. These grants not only provide schools with money to purchase personal protection equipment (PPE) and other items to ensure schools can operate safely and efficiently (in person or virtually), but—perhaps even more importantly—they can also be used toward programs designed to accelerate learning to support students as they overcome unfinished learning due to ongoing disruptions from the pandemic.

Accelerated Learning Programs Reinforce Foundational Skills

While the term accelerate may make you think of rushed instruction, accelerated learning models do not involve rushing instruction, but rather, these programs prioritize essential prerequisite skills and knowledge as well as reinforce key foundation skills that allow students to activate existing and relevant knowledge when working on grade-level studies in their Tier I classroom. Catapult Learning’s High-Dosage Tutoring was built using this model. Our programs use our proprietary Acceleration Framework, a research-based approach that includes:

  • Diagnostic Assessments: Academic assessments that pinpoint areas of strength and areas in which students need targeted support.
  • Individualized Student Plan: Using diagnostic data, our instructors create individualized academic learning goals to guide instruction and establish a baseline and growth targets that are used to monitor growth.
  • Personalized Support: Tutors provide personalized and targeted focused on essential prerequisite skills and foundational knowledge to support performance in the Tier 1 classroom.
  • Formative Assessment: Ongoing assessments monitor progress, allowing real-time differentiation to maximize student growth and achievement.
  • Evidence-Based Curriculum: Our High-Dosage Tutoring curriculum, AccelerateLiteracy and AccelerateMath, provides intensive, research-based grade-level support with a focus on high-impact prerequisite content and skills that benefits all students.
  • SEL Boost: Every High-Dosage Tutoring session includes an SEL focus lesson that supports students in managing stress while providing SEL learning supports that expand students’ 21st-century skills in critical thinking, collaboration, creativity, and empathy—vital skills necessary for college, careers, and beyond. Families also receive access to our SEL Family Portal, Kids Thrive Here, to practice social-emotional learning strategies at home. Additionally,

From start to finish, our Acceleration Framework identifies and emphasizes specific areas to be targeted through highly personalized instruction delivered by expertly trained tutors who monitor progress using formative and interim assessments that inform differentiation and provide insight into how students are growing, as well as areas that may require additional intervention. Our evidence-based curriculum delivers the right content at the right time, ensuring students are working on necessary skills and achieving academic goals throughout the comprehensive tutoring sessions. Coupled with standard-based instruction, High-Dosage Tutoring accelerates learning—not through speed or “cramming”, but through a research-based process that pinpoints and provides the necessary instruction for each individual child.

Learn more about Catapult Learning’s High-Dosage Tutoring program and Acceleration Framework by downloading our flyer here:

*Emma Dorn, Bryan Hancock, Jimmy Sarakatsannis, & Ellen Viruleg, “COVID-19 and Learning Loss Disparities Grow and Students Need Help,” McKinsey & Company, December 8, 2020,