“COVID-19 Slide” in Students: Academic Impact of School Closures

Research projections suggest that there will be academic impacts on students from COVID-19 school closures. According to Northwest Evaluation Association’s Collaborative for Student Growth brief, “Preliminary ‘COVID slide’ estimates suggest students will return in fall 2020 with roughly 70% of the learning gains in reading relative to a typical school year.” In mathematics, students may show even smaller learning gains from the previous year, returning with less than 50% of the gains. In lower grades, students may be nearly a full year behind in math compared to what we would observe in normal conditions.

Research from the Brookings Institute indicates that:

  • Students may be substantially behind, especially in mathematics and reading.
  • Students are likely to enter school with more variability in their academic skills than under normal circumstances.
  • Students who lose the most during the summer tend to gain the most when back in school, but this may not hold for COVID-19.

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