“This will probably be the largest increase in educational inequity in a generation,” concluded a recent Harvard study of 2.1 million students.
“Using testing data from 2.1 million students in 10,000 schools in 49 states (plus D.C.), we investigate the role of remote and hybrid instruction in widening gaps in achievement by race and school poverty,” began a recently-released Harvard study, “The Consequences of Remote and Hybrid Instruction During the Pandemic.”
“We find that remote instruction was a primary driver of widening achievement gaps,” the study’s authors, Dan Goldhaber, Thomas J. Kane, Andrew McEachin, Emily Morton, Tyler Patterson, and Douglas O. Staiger, concluded ominously.
It was only the opening paragraph.
America’s report card on public school pandemic responses didn’t get much better from there. In fact, it got a whole lot worse.
Learning losses were as bad as opponents to prolonged school closures warned they would be, and worse than supporters of extended closures could ever have imagined.
“Math gaps did not widen in areas that remained in-person (although there was some widening in reading gaps in those areas),” the study continued. “We estimate that high-poverty districts that went remote in 2020–21 will need to spend nearly all their federal aid on academic recovery to help students recover from pandemic-related achievement losses.”
After establishing how the authors were able to, “distinguish pandemic-related achievement losses from pre-existing differences in achievement growth by student and school characteristics,” the extremely well-researched study broke the terrible news.
“We find that the shift in instructional mode was a primary driver of widening achievement gaps by race/ethnicity and by school poverty status,” the authors concluded. “Within school districts that were remote for most of 2020–21, high-poverty schools experienced 50 percent more achievement loss than low-poverty schools.”
“In contrast, math achievement gaps did not widen in areas that remained in-person (although there was some widening in reading gaps in those areas),” the study continued, including findings like, “High-poverty schools were more likely to go remote and…