• July 27, 2021

US Elementary School Students Delayed 4-5 Months During Pandemic: Report

(Drazen Zigic / Getty Images)

Elementary school students in the United States fell four to five months below their expected level of academic achievement during the pandemic, according to a new study.

Researchers from consulting firm McKinsey & Co. found that K-12 students were getting 10 points behind in math and 9 points behind in reading on average at the end of the 2020-21 school year, compared to prior years.

The report notes that some students fared worse than others: those in majority black schools finished the year with six months of unfinished learning, while students in low-income schools finished seven months late.

The discrepancies could be the result of a number of factors, including less access to technology, higher rates of COVID-19 and higher unemployment in low-income communities and communities of color, according to the New York Times.

The study adds that more time spent on remote education corresponded to worse outcomes: rural school students who returned to face-to-face education more quickly did not lag as far behind as students from more urban schools who relied more on remote instruction. .

Despite mounting evidence that students could safely return to the classroom, many schools continued remote instruction as teacher unions fought a return to in-person learning, often against the wishes of students and parents.

McKinsey’s analysis was based on assessments taken by more than 1.6 million elementary school students who returned to in-person instruction in the spring.

The authors caution that “unless steps are taken to address unfinished learning, today’s students may earn between $ 49,000 and $ 61,000 less in their lifetime due to the impact of the pandemic on their education.”

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