According to a recent examination of data from standardised tests, the average student is currently half a year behind in arithmetic and a quarter of a year behind in reading skills as the COVID-19 pandemic appears to be coming to an end.
According to the recently issued Education Recovery Scorecard, districts with a large percentage of low-income pupils were affected considerably more severely.
According to researcher Sean Reardon, EdD, of Stanford University, “the individuals with the least resources wind up feeling the harshest effects when you have a huge catastrophe.”
Reardon, a professor of education, and Thomas Kane, a PhD economist from Harvard, conducted the analysis by contrasting data from the “nation’s report card” of standardised tests with state-level test scores from 29 states and Washington, DC.
The fact that school closures, a contentious issue, were not associated with increased learning deficits was an intriguing discovery.
The study’s authors noted that while districts invested the same percentage of 2020–21 in distant learning, “achievement losses differed substantially among districts.” “Many districts that engaged in remote learning for a significant portion of the school year experienced fewer losses than districts that engaged in in-person learning, much as California, a state with lengthy school closures, had losses smaller than Maine (a state with low rates of school closures). Additionally, arithmetic and reading test scores decreased significantly (on average, by one-third and one-fifth of a grade level) even in districts that were not engaged in remote learning for any of the school year.
The researchers identified this as a potential area for further study and noted that they intended to investigate “the role of other factors, such as COVID death rates, broadband connectivity, the predominant industries of employment and occupations for parents in the school district, that may be contributing to the disparate impacts of the pandemic.”
According to a related study, failure to make up for learning deficits may have an impact on students’ lifetime earnings as well as their propensity to end up in jail or have children as teenagers.
Improvement was “associated with an 8% rise in income, as well as improved educational attainment and declines in teen motherhood, incarceration and arrest rates,” according to the report, whose lead author was Kane. Improvement was also “associated with improved educational attainment and declines in incarceration and arrest rates.” Our findings imply that the recent losses would amount to a 1.6% decrease in the present value of lifetime earnings for the average K–12 student (or $19,400), amounting to $900 billion for the 48 million students enrolled in public schools during the 2020–21 school year, if allowed to become permanent.