In recent dialogues about educational equity and the “COVID Slide,” many authors and agencies have recommended that we focus on “the most critical skills” at every grade level. But few have provided definitive guidance on identifying them.

Pioneering content development work by Renaissance has identified the reading and math skills that lay the foundation for future learning and are the most important for a given grade level, making them essential and non-negotiable. These are Focus Skills.

Watch this research-based webinar to see where to access K–12 Focus Skills for free—and how to use them to close performance gaps this school year. You’ll also understand:

  • How Renaissance identifies Focus Skills
  • How Focus Skills relate to your state standards
  • What Focus Skills tell us about reversing COVID-related learning loss
  • How Focus Skills will help you target and prioritize instruction in 2020–2021 and beyond


Gene Kerns

Gene Kerns , EdD, is Vice President and Chief Academic Officer at Renaissance and a nationally acclaimed speaker on assessment, learning progressions, and educational standards. He is co-author of the new book Literacy Reframed: How a Focus on Decoding, Vocabulary, and Background Knowledge Improves Reading Comprehension (2020).

Katie McClarty

Katie McClarty , PhD, is Vice President of Research and Design at Renaissance. She is the former Chief Assessment Officer at Questar and co-editor of the book Preparing Students for College and Careers: Theory, Measurement, and Educational Practice (2017).