Catch-up programmes to repair learning loss in the Netherlands: overview of interventions and a literature review of their effectiveness
As a result of the coronavirus outbreak, students were no longer able to attend school physically from mid-way through the school year, and teaching was mainly provided online. Any learning losses caused by this had to be caught up and educational institutions could, and still can, apply for subsidies from the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science. Currently, 1,559 interventions are already being implemented and schools still have two deadlines to submit new applications. Research institute LEARN! has been asked by NRO – the Netherlands Initiative for Education Research – and the Ministry of Education to perform an inventory of the first subsidy applications and, based on a brief review of the literature, to map out their expected effectiveness.
Our inventory shows that applications in the first tranche mainly concerned extended school days, support within school hours and school during the holidays for pupils with a learning loss in language and arithmetic, and pupils who have passed and progressed to the next year conditionally. The literature review shows that the ‘active elements’ of all these variations are broadly comparable, i.e. the number of hours per pupil, participation of the target group (and cooperation with parents/offering incentives to guarantee participation), content and structure of the programme, qualified teaching staff, group size and alignment with the regular curriculum and classroom instruction. Teacher professional development together with one-on-one coaching and peer tutoring (see below) are among the most effective interventions to combat learning loss. Effects are long-term because the basic quality of regular education improves for all pupils.
Watch our webinars on the primary results (in Dutch).