Covid impact: School closure hurting students’ academic gains, says study

Prashasti Awasthi Mumbai | Updated on October 30, 2020 Published on October 30, 2020

Students did not gain much academic knowledge in the truncated academic session of 2020 due to prolonged school closure, per a study published in the journal Educational Researchers.

The study provided preliminary projections of the impact of the novel coronavirus on academic learning.

For the study, researchers assumed the school closure as an extended summer break. They estimated that only those who started to attend school this fall had 63-68 per cent of the typical annual learning gains in reading and 37-50 per cent of the typical annual learning gains in math.

Also read: Covid-19: Asymptomatic children have low coronavirus levels

However, they projected that losing ground during the school closures was not universal, with the top third of students potentially making gains in reading.

The projections indicated that policymakers will need to address that many students are substantially behind academically as a result of extended school closures, especially if many schools remain disrupted throughout periods of the 2020-21 school year.

Study co-author Megan Kuhfeld, a senior research scientist at NWEA, said: "It will be important to identify students who are struggling and fallen behind academically and provide those students with extra supports, such as high dosage tutoring and additional structural time."

"Inequalities that have existed in our education system prior to Covid are getting worse at the same time school districts are facing massive budget shortages," added Kuhfeld. "We need additional investments from the federal government to prevent looming school budget cuts."

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Published on October 30, 2020
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