Learning Loss due to COVID-19 (News and Research 214)

The Effect of School Closures on Standardized Student Test Outcomes | The school closures owing to the 2020 COVID-19 crisis resulted in a significant disruption of education provision leading to fears of learning losses and of an increase in educational inequality. This paper evaluates the effects of school closures based on standardized tests in the last year of primary school in Flemish schools in Belgium. The data covers a large sample of Flemish schools over a period of six years from 2015 to 2020. We find that students of the 2020 cohort experienced significant learning losses in all tested subjects, with a decrease in school averages of mathematics scores of 0.19 standard deviations and Dutch scores of 0.29 standard deviations as compared to the previous cohort. This finding holds when accounting for school characteristics, standardized tests in grade 4, and school fixed effects. Moreover, we observe that inequality within schools rises by 17% for math and 20% for Dutch. Inequality between schools rises by 7% for math and 18% for Dutch. The learning losses are correlated with observed school characteristics as schools with a more disadvantaged student population experience larger learning losses.

EVENT: Responding to COVID-19 and Looking Beyond: Lessons from Turkey’s Education Emergency Response and Digital Education Reforms for a New Way of Teaching and Learning October 8, 2020 – 8am EDT | Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Turkey has made large investments to expand its e-learning platform to reach an impressive 18 million students and over one million teachers, and to develop a New Digital Education System (NDES) for the future. In this seventh Lesson for Education webinar, the minister of national education of Turkey will be sharing his experience in managing the extensive digital platform to deliver effective and equitable education services, Turkey’s strategies to mitigate internet access and bandwidth problems, and the role of new digital educational materials and tools to respond to the needs of education, today and in the future.

The pandemic is plunging millions back into extreme poverty | Disruption to education will have awful long-term consequences. As every year of education is reckoned to increase annual earnings by roughly 10%, the consequences for poor children are alarming

Kosovo: Students during distance learning, have lost 25 to 40 percent of the school year (Telegrafi) The Executive Director of the Kosovo Education Center, Dukagjin Pupovci in an interview with Telegraf, spoke about the development of learning, organization and learning loss that children have suffered during distance learning, evaluating the scenarios of the Ministry of Education that are being applied in Kosovo schools.

Kyrgyz Republic: Ministry of Education promises to equip 1.2 thousand schools with computers (24.kg) | More than 25 thousand computers will be transferred to 1.2 thousand schools in Kyrgyzstan within the framework of the joint project of the Ministry of Education and Science and the International Development Association “Education for the Future”. This was reported in the press service of the department.  With project funding, special computer classes will be created in 1.2 thousand schools.  Each will have 15 computers, a multifunctional device (scanner, printer, copier).

Kyrgyz Republic: A working group to improve the safety of school infrastructure under a $ 39 million World Bank-funded project is established [in RUSSIAN] (Akipress) | В Кыргызстане начали разработку мер по повышению безопасности школьной инфраструктуры. Распоряжением руководителя Аппарата правительства Т.Темиралиева от 8 сентября 2020 года образована межведомственная рабочая группа. Этой группе в срок до 1 декабря 2020 года поручено разработать: – проект плана мероприятий по повышению безопасности школьной инфраструктуры;

Georgian parents are concerned about online learning | Georgia has postponed the reopening of schools in major cities due to a new surge in the pandemic, but what are the biggest concerns Georgians have with the education system? Georgia’s new academic year started on 15 September, but physical attendance at schools and universities in major cities has been postponed until 1 October. Earlier this month government officials, including the Head of the National Center for Disease Control and Public Health Amiran Gamkrelidze, said schools were ready to reopen. But on 11 September the prime minister announced this would not be possible in large cities because of a record-breaking number of new coronavirus cases in the country. In response, parents recently started a petition saying ‘no to online schooling’, to try and push forward the shift back to face-to-face schooling. Students in public schools in large cities have not attended education institutions physically since March, when the first COVID-19 cases were confirmed in Georgia. Through broadcasting live lessons for school children on the public broadcaster, distance learning became available for everyone who had access to a TV. Data from the period indicated that most in Georgia could access either TV or other online learning options. But, UNICEF Georgia recommended prioritising school reopening because of the negative effects of school absence on children’s health. In this context, what do people think are the main problems for the Georgian education system today? The August 2020 CRRC/NDI survey asked respondents about issues that the education system is facing in Georgia. Respondents were able to name up to three answers and the most frequently mentioned issue was difficulties associated with online classes, which a quarter (27%) of respondents named.  The next most common issues were low qualifications of teachers/lecturers (22%) and the high cost of university education (20%). One in ten (10%) of the population reported that there were no problems facing the education system and 19% answered ‘don’t know’. Women were more likely to name a problem than men. A quarter of men (24%) did not know how to answer this question compared to 16% of women. Similarly, 12% of men report that there were no problems facing the education system in Georgia whereas only 8% of women reported the same. Who is more concerned about online education? A logistic regression suggests women were 15 percentage points more likely to report distance learning as an issue than men. Those living outside Tbilisi were eight percentage points more likely to report distance learning was an issue. Other characteristics such as age, level of education, employment status, internet usage, and wealth do not predict whether people named difficulties with online classes as a problem or not. These differences are perhaps unsurprising. Women are more involved in children’s upbringing and education in Georgia. Therefore, they probably have more information about issues surrounding the education system than men. People living in other urban or rural settlements compared to residents of Tbilisi are less likely to be able to access the internet, which is necessary for online learning. At present, it is still an open question whether schools and universities will reopen on 1 October. Another question is how the quality of education will be affected as a result of the lack of face to face interaction, and who this will affect the most. What is clear is that a substantial share of the public is concerned about online education, even if they do have access to it.

Building the Right Skills for Human Capital: Education, Skills, and Productivity in the Kyrgyz Republic | Dingyong Hou, Karina Acevedo, Joost de Laat, Jennica Larrison | Building the Right Skills for Human Capital summarizes the findings from the 2019 skills survey for the adult Kyrgyz population. The skills measures used in the survey focus on literacy, numeracy, and problem solving in technology rich environments (PSTRE) and followed the same questions and approach as the OECD’s PIAAC surveys. Most jobs in the Kyrgyz Republic require regular use of reading, writing, numeracy, and ICT skills, and higher skilled groups of people earn higher wages, suggesting that the labor market rewards higher skills. However, skills levels among the workforce are consistently low in absolute terms, among varying sociodemographic groups, and relative to countries that implemented PIAAC surveys. Results are not improving across cohorts, except for PSTRE. There is evidence that a substantial share of people is overschooled, but underskilled. The lack of quality of education is an important driver for low skills performance. The report finds that higher levels of education are associated with higher skills levels, but even among the most educated, a large share has low skills scores, which helps explain why we find that a large share can be overeducated but underskilled for the jobs they occupy. Skill levels of secondary school teachers were also assessed. Teachers outperform the general population in both literacy and numeracy but underperform compared to professionals. Overall, one-third of teachers still have low proficiency in literacy and numeracy. With regards to ICT skills, the results suggest that nearly all secondary school teachers are currently not well equipped to impart ICT skills on their students. The book concludes with a series of policy recommendations at different levels of education, from early childhood education through life-long learning, including providing upskilling opportunities for those teachers with specific skill deficiencies. (This is a conference edition for publication expected in November 2020.)

In times of COVID-19, the future of education depends on the provision of water, sanitation, and hygiene services

COVID-19: A Reason to Double Down on Investments in Pre-primary Education

Economic Costs of Preprimary Program Reductions due to COVID-19 Pandemic

Great Things Come to Those Who Wait: Experimental Evidence on Performance-Management Tools and Training in Public Schools in Argentina Rafael de Hoyos

Human capital in emerging Europe: Estonia tops World Bank’s latest index, Romania gives cause for concern

World Bank HCI Index: Georgia Needs More Investment in Health, Education

Zero Returns To Higher Education: Evidence From A Natural Experiment | Stanislav Avdeev | Although many papers estimate returns to education, little causal evidence has been found for low- and middle-income countries. This paper estimates the causal effect of one year of university education on wages and employment in Russia. In 2011, the Bologna reform shortened the university study period by one year and reduced the content of the curricula but did not change the quality of admitted students. I exploit this reform as a natural experiment and use a difference-in-differences design. I find no adverse effect of a one-year reduction on wages and on the probability of being employed. This suggests that the reform lowered the opportunity costs of education but did not affect the accumulation of specific skills relevant for the labor market.

Can Technology Transform Communication between Schools, Teachers, and Parents? Evidence from a Randomized Field Trial | We study the adoption and implementation of a new mobile communication app among a sample of 132 New York City public schools. The app provides a platform for sharing general announcements and news as well as engaging in personalized two-way communication with individual parents. We provide participating schools with free access to the app and randomize schools to receive intensive support (training, guidance, monitoring, and encouragement) for maximizing the efficacy of the app. Although user supports led to higher levels of communication within the app in the treatment year, overall usage remained low and declined in the following year when treatment schools no longer received intensive supports. We find few subsequent effects on perceptions of communication quality or student outcomes. We leverage rich internal user data to explore how take-up and usage patterns varied across staff and school characteristics. These analyses help to identify early adopters and reluctant users, revealing both opportunities and obstacles to engaging parents through new communication technology.

Parent Engagement Interventions are Not Costless: Opportunity Cost and Crowd Out of Parental Investment | Many educational interventions encourage parents to engage in their child’s education as if parental time and attention is limitless. Sadly, though, it is not. Successfully encouraging certain parental investments may crowd out other productive behaviors. A randomized field experiment (N = 2,212) assessed the impact of an intervention in which parents of middle and high school students received multiple text messages per week encouraging them to ask their children specific questions tied to their science curriculum. The intervention increased parent-child at-home conversations about science but did not detectably impact science test scores. At the same time, the intervention decreased parent engagement in other, potentially productive, behaviors, such as turning off the television or monitoring their child’s studying. These findings illustrate that parent engagement interventions are not costless: there are opportunity costs to shifting parental effort.

Our new IZA World of Labor discussion paper: Returns to Education in the Russian Federation

Без образования доплат: Отдача от обучения для россиян снижается (No educational premium: The return on education for Russians is declining) 

Profitability of knowledge: estimates for Russia | The return on education is almost half the world average: each additional year of study gives a relatively small – and constantly decreasing – return Доходность знаний: оценки для России