Learning loss greater in school districts that stayed remote longer, study shows

By Reagan Reese

School districts that resorted to remote learning during the pandemic took a large learning loss hit, according to Thursday study by a Brown University economist.

K-12 school districts who stayed with remote learning the longest during the pandemic saw a 13% sharper drop in learning losses than schools that returned to in-person learning sooner, according to study by a Brown University economist Emily Oster. The study notes that while there were other factors that resulted in learning losses, remote learning was a “significant contributing factor.”

“The past two years have seen enormous test score declines for kids, pretty much no matter how you measure them,” Oster wrote in her report. “These declines were caused, at least in significant part, by school closures. There has been some recovery, but it is variable and incomplete. There is more to be done.”

The study examined school districts during the 2020-2021 school year in 10 different states including Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Indiana, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Virginia and West Virginia.

A Sept. 1 report from the National Assessment of Educational Progress showed that overall K-12 students lost nearly two decades’ worth of progress in math and reading. Reading scores fell to where they were in 1990 and math scores saw their first-ever decline.

Several school districts, including the school district of Fairfax, Virginia, and the Detroit school district, are estimated to spend millions to make up for the learning losses their students suffered.

Oster did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.

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