As ESSER II funds need to be allocated by 30 September 2023, we thought it would be helpful to write this guide on ESSER and explain how you can use these and other funds to purchase Quizalize for your school. Indeed Quizalize is a perfect fit for both ESSER II and ESSER III funding, as Quizalize directly helps address learning loss as a result of the pandemic and disproportionately helps underrepresented student groups.
What is ESSER?
The breadth of permissible uses for ESSER funds is both an advantage and a challenge for LEAs, as every expenditure needs a valid justification.
ESSER’s allowable uses are essentially in two areas.
- Ensure schools keep running after the Coronavirus pandemic in a safe and operationally viable way.
- Helping students catch up on the learning loss suffered during the pandemic in an effective and evidence-based manner. This is both from an academic and social, and emotional development perspective.
It’s important to highlight that, specifically for ARP ESSER (or ESSER III), LEAs must allocate at least 20% of their funds to address learning loss, though they can choose to allocate more if deemed beneficial. Moreover, learning loss programs must be effective and evidence-based. It is very important that, when used for learning loss, ESSER funds must be for high-quality and impactful applications.
Note that SEAs may also prescribe their own specific criteria that LEAs must satisfy and can establish an ESSER application procedure for LEAs.
Summary of how ESSER funds can be used
- Addressing learning loss/supporting social-emotional development and equitable access:
- Afterschool and enrichment programs
- Social and emotional support for students
- Software for student learning
- Hardware such as laptops for students
- Addressing the needs of students who require extra support, such as those from low-income families, those with disabilities, English language learners, students experiencing homelessness, children and youth in foster care
- Improving student assessments to track student learning loss recovery progress, tracking student attendance, and helping assist and educate parents on how they can support students
- Safety and continuity of school operations:
- Addressing individual school resource needs
- Physical maintenance of school buildings that support a safe and operational environment
- Implementing protocols that are in line with CDC recommendations
- Improving indoor air quality in schools
- Improving systems and procedures for preparedness
- Staff sanitation and diseases spread minimization training
- Supplies for cleaning and sanitization
- Long-term closure planning and procedures
- Improving coordinated preparedness and responses between educational agencies to prevent, prepare for, and respond to COVID-19
- “Other activities” that help the LEA stay operational, continue to provide services, and retain current staff.
How are schools using ESSER funding?
Burbio has done an analysis of how schools are planning to spend their ESSER III funding.
The biggest component of spending, at 27.4%, is on academic intervention/learning loss. 27.4% and a further 9.7% on technology.
Many states have not been spending all of their allocations, and you can see the full details of each state’s spending here.
For example, with just two months left to go until September 30, 2023, Texas still has only spent 83% of its ESSER II funding and only 52.8% of its ESSER III funding:
In Georgia, the figures are 89.1% for ESSER II and 50.8% for ESSER III.
In fact, every state in the US still has considerable funds left to spend.
Using ESSER funds to purchase Quizalize
Quizalize is a perfect fit for using ESSER funds as it is particularly helpful in addressing learning loss and has been shown to have a disproportionate impact on students from disadvantaged backgrounds.
Indeed, we built Quizalize with one single purpose in mind, an assessment tool to first help teachers instantly pinpoint each student’s learning gaps in the classroom and second personalize their teaching to every student through simple and effective tools. We don’t just stop at making assessments fun and engaging through our groundbreaking whole-class quiz games; we give teachers rich mastery data and smart quiz technology that adapts to each student’s needs.
Independent studies have shown that Quizalize is hugely impactful:
- Round Rock ISD found that students in classes using Quizalize for Middle School Science scored 8-10% higher in end-of-year state standardized tests.
- Mooresville Middle School found that the achievement gap in quarterly test scores for students from disadvantaged socioeconomic backgrounds reduced by 8% from 33.4% to 25.4% in Grade 7 Science.
Both Round Rock and Mooresville carried out their own internal analysis without our knowledge or participation and told us about these impressive results only after the fact. This data demonstrates that Quizalize is an effective and evidence-based way to accelerate learning and address learning loss.
A key reason that Quizalize is so effective with students from disadvantaged socioeconomic backgrounds is that our games make taking quizzes on any academic subject fun and engaging. Our Hoopzz basketball game, in particular, has been a real hit, and, as a result, we are launching baseball and more sports theme games this year.
Whilst data like this from large-scale trials in real schools is tremendously exciting, our greatest reward comes from all the teachers who message us and tell us the stories of how we have impacted individual students. We are always thrilled when we are told of how students who were previously struggling are now succeeding as a result of Quizalize. We love the stories of how students who were previously disengaged now look forward to coming to school and playing our engaging games. We know how much this matters to our teachers, and this is why we are on a mission to give teachers an easy-to-use tool that allows them to make a difference to each and every one of their students.
Quizalize is also a great fit for ESSER funding as it is one of the world’s best tools for tracking the academic progress of students and providing teachers with insight to share with parents so that they can support their children too. Our mastery dashboards for teachers allow teachers to effortlessly track each student’s progress over time against each skill in a standard. Moreover, our innovative mastery dashboards for school leaders aggregate individual student mastery data and allow leaders to effortlessly track the academic progress of every class in a whole school on a daily basis. This gives leaders the daily insight they need to support their teaching staff with better resources or training and also track the effectiveness of all interventions intended to address learning loss.
We’re incredibly grateful that so many schools are choosing to use ESSER II and ESSER III funding to purchase Quizalize school and district subscriptions. Importantly, it also provides us with the funds we need to continue to improve Quizalize and make it even more impactful at addressing learning loss, and so help teachers make a real difference in these challenging post-pandemic years. Thank you for supporting us.
⚡️ We have also crafted a free ESSER Funding Guide, which includes guidance on acquiring Quizalize and a template letter designed for requesting the necessary funds. Download it for free now.
If you have any questions or we can support you with your funding applications, please don’t hesitate to reach out to email@example.com.