Thursday, March 23, 2023

Children fall further behind in maths due to the pandemic, missing out on the equivalent of more than a quarter

during the pandemic COVID-19school-age children experienced delays and loss of knowledge and skills equivalent to approximately 35% of total learning for a school year, which would a little over a quarter, It follows a publication in the journal ‘Nature Human Behaviour’, which included 42 investigations carried out in 15 middle- and high-income countries (including Spain). Some of the conclusions drawn from this analysis indicate that these delays have persisted for at least two and a half years since their inception, that Mathematics is the subject that has suffered the most and that the gap widens in the case of minors with fewer resources.

Data indicates that 95% of the global student population was affected by school closures during the pandemic. The theory that the education of school children could be compromised by hybrid teaching and the lack of student or teacher classrooms had already been imposed. Now, using those previous functions, bastian betthauser and colleagues have examined learning deficits (delays in expected progress of learning, as well as loss of skills and previously acquired knowledge) during the pandemic and whether these differ between different groups of students.

42 studies from 15 countries including Spain

The team specifically analyzed 42 studies published between March 2020 and August 2022 in 15 countries: Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Colombia, Denmark, Germany, Italy, Mexico, Netherlands, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, UK and US, The authors found that learning progress slowed during the pandemic and then persisted until at least mid-2022. Cumulatively, the authors estimate that the equivalent of an entire quarter could be lost.

“The learning deficit was greater in math than in reading, possibly because learning progress in math relies more on formal instruction than in reading,” the researchers noted. Furthermore, they found that disparities between learning levels between children from more and less favorable backgrounds had widened during this time.

The authors note that even though deficits emerged at the beginning of the pandemic, they did not close or widen widely over time. They conclude that their results highlight the need for policy initiatives to address learning gaps and provide additional support for children whose learning has slowed the most during the pandemic. The authors found that no evidence was available on learning deficits in low-income countries and recommend this as a priority for future research.

“Based on this evidence, we know that the pandemic and its implications (closure of educational institutions, online and hybrid learning) have had a negative impact on students, especially those from lower socioeconomic strata. Furthermore, we know that contrary to what was thought, students of any educational level are affected in the same way. This result is evidence in favor of the fact that face-to-face learning in educational institutions is more effective than distance learning, whether online or hybrid. There is also evidence that face-to-face learning in schools and universities compensates for inequality of students’ origins—he points to SMC Spain.Maria Fernandez Melizzo-Soto, Professor of the Department of Applied Sociology of the Faculty of Education of the Complutense University of Madrid-. The results of this research point to measures to compensate for this loss of learning, which progresses over time, especially among groups of more vulnerable students.»

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