Date of Award

Spring 5-6-2022

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education in School Leadership


Center for Leadership & Learning


College of Education

Committee Chair

John Freeman, PhD

Second Committee Member

Steve Bounds, EdD

Third Committee Member

Edward Franklin, EdD

Program Director

John Freeman, PhD

Dean of Graduate College

Sarah Gordon, PhD


The COVID-19 pandemic changed the way Arkansas public schools’ offered students an education. While moving through this pandemic, many Arkansas schools implemented optional methods of delivery for their students. Some schools tried to maintain face-to-face classes, while others offered completely online classes. Still, others offered a hybrid format where students attended some face-to-face classes and online classes. One Arkansas school district offered all three options. School districts need guidance as to which teaching methods worked well. The long-term effects of the educational impact of COVID-19 are not known at this time. Schools could benefit from a guide with useful strategies and practices of virtual learning in public schools. The purpose of this quantitative causal-comparative study was to explore any differences between learning delivery options offered by one Arkansas school district in terms of student performance on the state-mandated ACT Aspire assessments and educators’ perceptions of educating through a pandemic. The research provided data related to individual student learning gaps in mathematics that may be addressed before these students sit for their eleventh grade ACT Aspire assessments during the 2022-2023 school year. There was some evidence of mathematical learning loss as seen in the frequency change of Math Benchmark Readiness level from seventh to ninth grade, especially in Functions and Algebra for our current tenth-grade students. Educators revealed the difficult year was filled with more responsibilities and learning opportunities for all that were willing to stay the course. The educational system changed to a pandemic education with new rules and stress which prompted learning in technology for both students and educators. The need for increased time was seen in lessons, planning, and dividing responsibilities into the time allowed to complete tasks. Mathematical gaps existed when students were absent or not given enough time to adequately learn concepts. Collectively, the research showed that there was not a single concept or category that was lacking, but a wide scope of learning loss that only time and educational effort can reduce.