How the Pandemic Has Impacted US Students’ Academic Progress

A recent study revealed that students in the United States have not yet fully recovered their pre-COVID levels of learning in math and reading. The pandemic has particularly affected Black and Hispanic students, emphasizing the ongoing educational toll caused by school closures and remote learning.

To address the learning loss resulting from the pandemic, the federal government has allocated nearly $200 billion. Schools have utilized these funds to strengthen tutoring programs, provide summer school options, and implement various recovery initiatives.

However, an analysis of test scores from 6.7 million public school students in grades three through eight during the 2022-2023 school year showed that they did not make the same progress as their counterparts before the pandemic, according to the Northwest Evaluation Association (NWEA), a national education research organization.

“While this is disheartening, we cannot ignore or accept that this is our new reality,” remarked Karyn Lewis, one of the study’s co-authors.

Third-grade students were an exception, demonstrating above-average growth in both math and English. The reason for this phenomenon remains unclear, as stated by Lewis.

The study found that students from economically disadvantaged areas and historically marginalized groups, such as Black and Hispanic children, were the most academically affected by the pandemic.

According to a December 2022 study conducted by Stanford University, the prolonged disruption of education could result in students losing up to $70,000 in potential lifetime earnings.

The NWEA study indicated that students across the United States, on average, would require more than four additional months of instruction in math and reading to catch up to pre-pandemic levels.

The organization emphasized that achieving this goal would demand sustained efforts over several years, especially for marginalized students.

“Schools and school districts are implementing appropriate measures, but they need to do more of the right things,” Lewis commented.

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