Blue state COVID learning loss widened racial achievement gaps relative to red states: Study
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A study shows that distance learning has caused major damage to student achievement during the epidemic, with students in the blue state and low-income areas being the most affected by the loss.
“Surprisingly, in state school districts like Texas and Florida, the gap in math achievement by race and school poverty has not widened to what remains largely private,” said Thomas Kane, a professor and author of Harvard Education. The results of the study were revealed in an interview with the Harvard Gazette last week. “Where schools moved to distance learning, the gaps widened sharply. Moving to distance learning was like turning a switch on an important part of our social infrastructure that we embraced.”
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The study was conducted by the National Center for Longitudinal Data Analysis at Harvard University, the American Institute for Research, and NWEA Educational Research. The group analyzed data from 2.1 million students in 10,000 schools in 49 states, finding distance education as the primary reason for the large loss of student achievement during the epidemic.
Researchers found that high-poverty schools were more likely to spend more time on distance learning, while high-poverty schools in some states outperformed others.
“In high-distance learning states (including populous states such as California, Illinois, New Jersey, Virginia, Washington, and the District of Columbia), high-poverty schools spent an additional 9 weeks (more than 2 months) on distance learning (poverty schools),” the study said. High-poverty schools in states like Texas and Florida had small gaps in distance learning rates.
Teachers’ unions and school districts have often been embroiled in controversy over distance education throughout the epidemic Chicago The teachers’ union recently voted to return to distance education in January.
Shortly after Chicago schools returned to personal guidance, Kane noted that high distance learning in some districts has resulted in a large achievement gap.
“We’ve seen that districts that have spent more weeks in remote directions have lost more land than districts that have recently returned to personal guidance,” Kane said.
Kane warned that the loss of achievement threatens the gains that have been made in closing the gap between minority and white students in the United States, which has been shrinking for three decades.
“Students in remote high-poverty schools have lost about 0.45 deviations in mathematics for most of 2020-21,” Kane said, adding that there are several options to help students bridge this gap.
If disadvantaged students fail to catch up, the loss could result in lower high school graduation rates, lower college enrollment, and lower lifetime earnings.
To be more concrete, students in remote high-poverty schools over the first half of 2020-21 are expected to see a 5 percent drop in average income compared to their careers, considering the past relationship between test scores and earnings, “said Ken. No, but when calculating the loss of 50 million students in K-12 education in the United States, that would amount to a $ 2 trillion reduction in lifetime earnings. “
Kane said the best solution is to invest in interventions for districts such as high-dose tutoring for underprivileged students, but noted that such interventions may still not be enough to close the gap.
“Pre-epidemic research suggests that such a program would create a standard deviation of about 0.38,” Kane said. “In other words, a district can provide high-quality teachers to every student in a high-poverty school and still not expect a fall.”
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