An entire generation of California students will remember 2020 not just as a year of grief and boredom, but as a gap in their education. As no parent needs reminding, Zoom is generally not a good substitute for in-class learning.
A study conducted by education researchers at Stanford, the University of Southern California and UC campuses in Los Angeles, Berkeley and Davis tried to quantify this “learning loss” by comparing the test scores of students in six districts that administer the Measure of Academic Progress test last fall to the year before. They found a significant decline in test scores, especially in English Language Arts among students in earlier grades. The impact was even more pronounced for students from disadvantaged backgrounds such as in poverty or experiencing homelessness.
With some districts now reopening, the race is on to make up for lost time. Still, as a CalMatters analysis found, it’s a strikingly consistent trend: The wealthier a school district, the more likely it is to have students physically in the classroom. In late February, more than half of private elementary schools were offering some form of in-person instruction, compared to just a quarter of public elementary schools.