California Expanded Learning Opportunities
Kid in a classroom

A Researcher-Practitioner Partnership to Improve Pandemic Recovery Efforts in California

About the Research Study


To address lost instructional time in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, California created the $4.6 billion Expanded Learning Opportunity grant (ELO-G) in 2021, one of the largest learning recovery grants in the state’s history. Every district receives additional funding under ELO, and they have until September 2024 to spend the ELO-G dollars.

  • ELO grants are intended to fund supplemental instruction and supports for students and staff.
  • The grants are allocated in proportion to district funding under the state’s funding formula, which adds extra funding for low-income, English learner, and foster youth students.
  • The state released general guidelines, but it is up to districts to implement plans that meet local needs. Districts are required to develop a plan that describes their supplemental instruction and support strategies and to share this plan with the state education agency.


Research Study

The decentralized approach to implementing programs under the ELO grants means that California lacks crucial information on ELO recovery activities and their potential impact.

The research team will examine the implementation of California's ELO grant program from 2021–22 through 2024–25 for more-than-1,000 school districts to understand the:

  • types of recovery activities that have been implemented with ELO funding,
  • factors that shape ELO implementation across districts, and
  • association between ELO recovery activities and equitable student outcomes.
About the Research Team

The research team consists of educational researchers, economists, demographers, sociologists, and policymakers from the American Institutes for Research, in collaboration with the California Department of Education, the University of California-Berkeley, and the University of California-San Diego.

Research Team Members
Niu Gao
Niu Gao
Principal Researcher
American Institutes for Research
Julian Betts
Julian Betts
Co-Principal Investigator
University of California, San Diego, Professor of Economics
Bruce Fuller
Bruce Fuller
Professor of Education and Public Policy
Co-PI, Public Policy Institute of California
Jonathan Isler
Jonathan Isler
Co-PI, California Department of Education