In June 2019, state-of-the-art, custom electroencephalography, or EEG labs, were installed at the Manhattan and Westchester campuses of The Windward School in preparation for the start of the first research study of the Windward/Haskins Collaborative Project. Predicting Literacy Outcomes at The Windward School (P.L.O.W.) set out to utilize neuroimaging measures (with EEG) and standardized behavioral measures to give insight into the evidence-based instructional intervention model at The Windward School and to shed light on why some students respond to interventions more readily than others despite having similar neurocognitive profiles.

Until the COVID-19 outbreak, cognitive and brain imaging research was being carried out at Windward’s two EEG labs in Manhattan and Westchester. The research team had initially planned to conduct the second round of in-school testing in Spring of 2020. This March, in response to the pandemic protocols, Windward teachers and scientists from the Haskins Laboratories reconfigured the research plan.

While social-distancing measures prevented the collection of EEG data, the collection of behavioral data proceeded as originally scheduled, but with one significant change. The Haskins research scientists developed new tools to administer the behavioral assessments online so that participating students were able to complete this portion of the study from home.

Haskins Laboratories Research Associate, Vishakha Agrawal helped reconfigure the measures to a virtual platform and worked with each Jr. Scientist (child participating in the study) to complete Year 1 of the longitudinal study.

While this disruption impacted data collection in the short term, the research team will continue to track students over multiple “typical” years in the future. It is, however, important to note that this unprecedented time provides a unique opportunity to explore the impacts of online learning on student outcomes over this period.

We look forward to updating you with the findings and the ongoing work, as Year 2 of the study will begin data collection in Fall 2020.