Loss-of-Learning and the Post-Covid Recovery (News and Research 278)

Loss-of-Learning and the Post-Covid Recovery in Low-Income Countries | IMF Working Paper No. 2022/025 | A dynamic general equilibrium model is calibrated to reflect the structural characteristics of vulnerable low-income countries and to replicate key dimensions of the Covid-19 shock. The paper shows that absent significant and sustained external financing, the persistence of loss-of-learning effects on labor productivity is likely to make the post-Covid recovery more attenuated and more expensive than many contemporary analyses suggest.

Learning Recovery after COVID-19 in Europe and Central Asia: Policy and Practice | This brief highlights the key aspects of the World Bank’s ECA learning recovery plan that should be prioritized given the current situation in the region. The plan consists of three stages: (i) coping with the closing of schools and compensatory programs for preventing learning losses; (ii) ensuring continuity in reopened schools by providing foundational skills to reduce learning loss and to improve learning among disadvantaged students; and (iii) improving and accelerating learning by making schools more resilient and equitable through educational innovations and evaluation.

Long-Term Consequences of Repeated School Closures During the COVID-19 Pandemic for Reading and Mathematics Competencies | School closures during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020 were associated with attenuated learning gains compared to pre-pandemic years. In Germany, two further pandemic waves led to school closures and periods of remote learning between December 2020 and May 2021. The present study investigates the academic achievement of all incoming fifth-graders in the federal state of Baden-Württemberg before and during the pandemic, using educational large-scale assessment results in reading and mathematics. Each year, the assessments took place at the beginning of the school year in September (each n > 84,000). The comparison of average competence levels in 2021 with pre-pandemic years (2017–2019) indicates that the downward trend that was observed after the first pandemic wave in 2020 came to a halt in the domain of reading and continued at a slower rate in the domain of mathematical operations. Achievements in the mathematical domain of numbers even rebounded to pre-pandemic levels. Longer periods of school closures were associated with larger learning losses. Additional analyses showed larger learning losses for the group of low-achieving students and for schools with less socio-cultural capital. The partial rebound of learning outcomes suggests that most teachers and students successfully adapted to the pandemic situation in 2021. Still, disadvantaged student groups are at high risk of further substantial learning losses due to school closures that may negatively affect their future education. Accordingly, disadvantaged student groups should receive additional support to compensate for the loss of learning opportunities in the classroom.

Reading skills intervention during the Covid-19 pandemic | This paper diagnoses the reading skills at the onset of second grade after one (final) trimester of first grade, with online schooling as a result of COVID-19. It also describes and assesses the impact of a Reading Skills Consolidating Program conducted with second graders during the first weeks of the school year. This intervention program focuses on the promotion of letter-sound, phonemic awareness, decoding and spelling. The intervention was implemented with 446-second graders (224 boys and 208 girls), preceded and followed by a reading assessment. Results were analyzed with an intra (pre- and post-test) group design. A paired sample t-test indicated the presence of statistically significant differences between the two assessment moments, with higher values at the post-test. At the pre-test, there was a significantly higher than the normally expected percentage of students with a reading level on or below the 10th percentile along with a significantly worse performance among low Socioeconomic Status (SES) students. The post-test revealed a positive impact of the training program, as indicated by (i) a decrease to about half of the number of students at or below the 10th percentile, (ii) an increase of 20% of students with reading skills at or above the 30th percentile and (iii) the difference decrease in reading skills in a result of SES.

The impact of COVID-19 on children’s learning: a rapid review | The studies reviewed imply that the significant disruption in children’s education because of school closure during the COVID-19 pandemic has been problematic and has resulted in learning losses. It is recommended that education systems worldwide should train teachers for online learning to maximize learning and minimize inequalities. The paper concludes with implications for policymakers, researchers and educators.

Investment and Interventions to Improve the Quality of Education Systems | Jin Chi, Eduardo Velez | Quality improvement is a major current goal of Education in China and this will be achieved through overall quality improvement of the education system, a situation that is also the case across the world. Deploying a cost-benefit analysis and multidisciplinary perspectives from education, economics, neurocognition, gender studies, child development, and international development, this book presents a range of critical interventions in education development and investment that have proven to be effective in many countries around the world.

The pandemic generation: A cohort of British children has been changed by covid-19, probably for good | Research for the Department of Education last summer found that primary-school children had fallen behind in mathematics by just over two months relative to the previous year group. Children poor enough to receive free school meals slipped by half a month more. And large regional differences emerged. Those in London were 0.8 months behind where they should be; those in south-west England (the region of England that suffered least from covid-19) had not slipped at all. Children in north-east and north-west England were at least three months behind. If the laggards cannot catch up—which seems likely, given the government’s reluctance to shell out for tutoring—they will be hurt for life. The Education Policy Institute, a think-tank, estimates that an extra year of schooling raises lifetime earnings by 8%. Missing out on three months entails a loss of between £15,600 ($20,900) and £30,900. The greater learning loss in the north of England will make it even harder to “level up” that part of the country, as the government wants to do… Young people are also remaining in education longer.

Plagiarism and Bogus Degrees: The Rampant Cheating In Romanian Schools | Cheating, plagiarism, and bogus degrees have plagued Romanian schools and universities for years. The issue was recently brought to the fore with Prime Minister Nicolae Ciuca accused of plagiarizing parts of his doctoral thesis, charges which he has consistently denied. Several former senior officials, including prime ministers, have also been accused of plagiarism, with many linked to questionable degrees.

Mapping the Global Learning Crisis | Despite record enrollments in school worldwide, learning is limited.

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 – 21, 2022 | Application Deadline: May 1, 2022 | Participation is free | Moscow, HSE Institute of Education | Language: English | 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 | Read more and register