The COVID-19 Slide in Education: Global Data on Learning Loss (News and Research 277)
COVID-19 caused significant disruption to the global education system. Early reviews of the first wave of lockdowns and school closures suggested significant learning loss in several countries. Most studies observe increases in inequality where certain demographics of students experienced learning losses more significant than others. But there are also outliers, countries that managed to limit the amount of loss.
When the great equalizer shuts down
A new paper in the Journal of Public Economics by Francesco Agostinelli and colleagues models learning loss in the context of school closures. It starts from the premise that online is an imperfect substitute for in-person learning, particularly for children from low-income families, and that peer effects change online, as does the response of parents. They find that school closures have a large, persistent, and unequal effect on human capital accumulation. High school students from low-income neighborhoods suffer a learning loss of 0.4 standard deviations after a one-year school closure, whereas children from high-income neighborhoods initially remain unscathed.
COVID-19 led to school closures throughout the world – and the learning losses are mounting
Emerging evidence suggests that the pandemic has led to substantial learning losses amongst school-age children (for example, in the Netherlands, the United States and globally. Some studies find that the negative effects of the Covid-19 Pandemic on learning is particularly severe for students from disadvantaged backgrounds. Early systematic reviews based on limited data from high-income countries suggest large learning losses and equity effects. Average learning losses range from 0.10 standard deviations, to 0.13 SDs, to 0.14 SDs, to 0.15 SDs.
In Europe, average learning losses are 0.13 standard deviations, or about 1/3 of year’s worth of learning loss. New research from Poland focusing on Warsaw finds large losses of 1/3 of a standard deviation, close to a year’s worth of learning loss. Large learning losses are found in Latin America, with Brazil at 0.32 standard deviations and Mexico at 0.37 standard deviations. In Africa, large learning losses are reported for Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, and South Africa, ranging from 0.11 to 0.25 standard deviations. In East Asia, large losses reported in China at 0.22 standard deviations, and Indonesia, at -0.11; but insignificant losses in Japan, but only in one city.
In general, there is learning loss. Currently, there are 68 studies and reports documenting learning loss, and 90% of these find some level of learning loss. These represent data from 34 countries. In general, there is learning loss. Most (90%) studies find some level of learning loss, recorded in more than 80% of countries. Losses are documented in all but 5 studies. Average learning loss is estimated at 0.14 standard deviations – 4 to 5 months of learning loss.
Losses are significant in countries reporting losses in other terms such as percentages. For example, adolescent girls’ literacy and numeracy scores declined by 6.25% in Bangladesh. In India, the share of grade 3 children in government schools who can perform simple subtraction decreased from 24% in 2018 to only 16% in 2020 and the share who can read a grade 2 level text decreased from 19% in 2018 to 10% in 2020. In Pakistan, the proportion of children in classes 1-5 who can read a story declined from 24% in 2019 to 22% in 2021. There are reported learning losses in one college in Sri Lanka. In Uganda, the percentage of learners rated proficient in literacy in English and numeracy in 2021 dropped by 5% and 13% from that of 2018. In Canada, grade 2 and 3 students reading assessments declined by 4 to 5 points. In Korea, there was a significant decrease in scores in for medical school students.
As a result of the first wave of lockdowns and school closures beginning in March 2020, on average, a student has lost about one-third to a half years’ worth of learning. This has consequences in terms of further education as the lost learning may impact opportunities for higher levels of schooling. There are also long-term future earnings losses associated with lost human capital, with students potentially losing trillions of dollars in future incomes.
But there are also some exceptions
Learning loss evidence is mixed in France, with on average very low levels of learning loss experienced thus far, though are still equity effects with more disadvantaged students suffering more. However, no learning loss is evidence in Denmark and no equity effect. It seems that Danish children received good home support and their reading behavior increased significantly because of the lockdown of schools. In Sweden, where primary schools did not close during the pandemic, there are no reported learning losses. In the state of New South Wales, Australia, there are no significant differences between 2019 and 2020 in student achievement growth; however, learning did decrease in the least advantaged schools.
Still, there is very little information on actual learning loss
Currently, there are 68 studies and reports documenting learning loss. These represent data from 34 countries. In general, there is learning loss. Most (90%) studies find some level of learning loss, recorded in more than 80% of countries. Average learning loss is estimated at 0.14 standard deviations – 4 to 5 months of learning loss.
That’s 34 countries. Which means that more than 80 percent of countries are not reporting at all. Yet the pandemic affected all countries and almost all closed schools at least for some length of time.
Tumo Branch to Open at University of Luxembourg | A branch of the Armenian TUMO Center for Creative Technologies will open at the University of Luxembourg, the Armenian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said. It said the agreement was reached during Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan’s official visit to Luxembourg. Mirzoyan was hosted by the university the day before and was welcomed by the rector of the university, Stephane Palage, the ministry said.
|How Education Can Help Mitigate the Consequences of the COVID-19 Pandemic|
Annual joint Summer School on role of education in social and economic development
HSE University and World Bank
June 14 – June 21, 2022
Application Deadline: May 1, 2022
Participation is free
Moscow, HSE Institute of Education
Accommodation: organized and paid for by the participants themselves Lecture topics:
-The problems of inequality and access to education under COVID-19
– Learning Loss: New tools and approaches
– The economics of education in the COVID-19 era
– The role of initiative and agency to survive in the storm
– Entrepreneurship training – in response to the crisis: approaches and solutions
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