The COVID-19 pandemic has caused global disruption to just about everything, including education. Millions of children weren’t able to learn in the classroom, and for many students and teachers, virtual learning just wasn’t as effective. This was largely due to a lack of remote training for educators, some students not having the proper software and internet access to engage remotely, and a general difficulty for working parents to be home to help their children navigate this sudden new format of learning.
At the end of the 2020-21 school year, K-12 students were on average five months behind in math and four months behind in reading, according to a July 2021 McKinsey & Company report. Another study published in the fall of that year, which analyzed the test scores of 5.4 million American students, found that math and reading test scores dropped for students in grades 3 through 8th grade, compared to their peers who were in the same grade in the fall. of 2019.
The psychological impact of such a massive disruption to their education has had a huge impact on students of all ages. In addition to anxiety about having friends or family members at risk of contracting COVID-19 – or suffering from COVID infection – students from kindergarten through middle school have shown a general increase in depression, fatigue and stress.
All of these mental health issues further hampered their ability to engage in a remote learning environment. A study by researchers at the University of Colorado and the Colorado Department of Education published in March 2022 found that at all levels, teachers faced challenges with engagement, attendance, motivation, communication, internet access and general attention problems. and feedback to their students.
Fortunately, as the pandemic has continued, schools have not been alone in this struggle. Funding through the CARES Act, US Bailout, and ESSER has distributed $274 billion to educational agencies across the country, and many schools are using these funds to address learning loss.
The 2021-2022 school year has seen most students return to relative academic normality, resuming their normal pace of learning; however, the effects of COVID-related separation and learning loss have been difficult to shake. A 2021 study from Pew found that the psychological effects of not learning in the classroom persisted, and a coalition led by the American Academy of Pediatrics declared a national student mental health emergency the same year. .
Nevertheless, schools are becoming better equipped to deal with the ongoing struggle with learning loss. HeyTutor outlined nine ways schools are tackling learning loss, drawing on news reports as well as studies on the impact of COVID-19 on student education.