From the Field

Projecting the Potential Impacts of Covid-19 on Academic Achievement

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Covid-19 has resulted in school closures around the country. But how has this impacted students’ academic achievement? In Projecting the Potential Impacts of Covid-19 School Closures on Academic Achievement, NWEA researcher Megan Kuhfeld and colleagues explored analyzed the average summer learning patterns of 5 million students and referred to prior research estimates regarding the effects of missing school for a snow day. In a study of the effects of snow days on students’ learning in Colorado, researchers found that each day missed correlated with a slight decrease in math achievement. Other studies found that snow days had little impacct on schools in more affluennt neighborhoods, but negative effects on schools in poorer areas. Kuhfeld and her team confronted broadband inequality, which exacerbates learning loss for students of lower socioeconomic statuses.

 The team concluded if students return to school in the fall, they will have about two thirds of the learning gain they experience in a typical school year. Moreover, the gain in math would be about 37 to 50 percent  of that in a typical year. The researchers add that students in the top third of their class could well make gains in reading, because they have better support at home.

-Caroline Berner