Students from schools in low-income communities did not experience significant “learning loss” during the pandemic years of 2020-2021, but instead improved in some areas of study.
This is one of the main findings from Our researchrecently published in The Australian Educational Researcher.
In fact, we found that students most at risk of “learning loss” during the pandemic actually had greater growth in math and equivalent growth in reading in 2021 than a similar group of students from 2019.
Our results reveal one positive side of the challenging past three years, and underscore what is possible when programs aimed at helping the most disadvantaged students are well funded.
Overall, however, we still have a long way to go to remove the pervasive and structural inequalities hidden in Australian school systems, and to narrow achievement gaps.
What we did and what we found
Our study included data on third and fourth year academic outcomes, collected as part of a randomized controlled trial with 125 public schools in New South Wales.
From this data we conducted two studies – one comparing student outcomes in 2020 to 2019, and the second comparing 2021 to 2019.
In other words, one analysis compared the results of students from the first year of the pandemic with pre-pandemic children. Comparison of other academic outcomes of pre-pandemic children with those in consecutive years (which included distance learning).
The student cohorts for each year of study – 2019, 2020 and 2021 – were carefully ‘matched’ so we could be confident we were comparing like for like.
When comparing the 2020 and 2019 cohorts, we found no significant differences Total in mathematics or reading.
However, analysis of this same data by the School Index of Community Social and Educational Advantage (a school-wide measure of advantage that takes into account school location, parental education, and proportion of students who are indigenous) revealed troubling inequalities.
In this comparison of 2019 and 2020 (which compared pre-pandemic students to those during the first year), we found that students in disadvantaged schools had lower growth in math. Students in the middle school level achieved a bit more.
Then when the pandemic continued, we were also able to compare children before the pandemic (2019 cohort) with those who lived through both years (2021 cohort).
This allowed us to measure the effect of consecutive years of disrupted learning.
Surprisingly, we found students from disadvantaged schools achieved three months of additional growth in math and the same growth in reading compared to their peers in the 2019 pre-pandemic year.
Meanwhile, students in middle and elite schools have achieved as much as their pre-pandemic peers.
Concerns about ‘learning loss’
Early in the pandemic, teachers, parents, researchers, government, and the media worried and speculated that student results would drop.
As our research shows, significant concerns about diminishing academic achievement have not been widely realized.
Even when students aren’t achieving the same rates as they did in the pre-pandemic years, they’re still learning.
In hindsight, the idea of “learning loss,” or students’ learning going backwards, was likely an unnecessary concern for families.
However, external results show that Australia was an anomaly.
world bank analysis Of 35 empirical studies on the impact of COVID-19 on student learning concluded that students worldwide were delayed by “nearly half a year of learning.”
It also found that students from disadvantaged contexts were more likely to be negatively affected.
Researchers at Harvard University It found that distance and hybrid learning during the pandemic contributed significantly to widening achievement gaps for disadvantaged students.
In this global context, the recent academic achievement of students in our NSW Studies is cause for real celebration.
What is behind these results?
As the pandemic caused lockdowns and uncertainty, governments and education departments across Australia found hundreds of millions of dollars to put into preventing students from being left behind.
The NSW Education tutoring scheme, which launches in 2021, may have contributed to the positive academic outcomes we have found.
the COVID Intensive Learning Support Programme It funded schools to hire more teachers to provide small group literacy and numeracy lessons to students identified as most in need.
The program was extended through June 2023, but it has been extended Criticize Not well targeted.
A widespread shortage of teachers was also a factor. Hard-to-train schools in disadvantaged, rural and remote areas, where private tutoring is arguably much needed, mentioned Struggling to hire teachers for classes let alone additional teachers for the teaching program.
Our main findings may also be explained by the strict focus on literacy and numeracy in primary schools when students returned after periods of distance learning.
However, the “back-to-basics” focus—excluding sports, rallies, excursions, and other extracurricular activities that permeate school life—may also have a negative impact. student And Teacher welfare.
Where from here?
The achievement gap between students from marginalized groups and their more advantaged peers looms large in the Australian education system.
Students in our study from disadvantaged schools, while they showed academic improvement in math in 2021, still started and finished the year behind their more advantaged peers.
In fact, their level of achievement at the end of 2021 was still lower than that of students in outstanding schools who started their academic year.
There are clear lessons to be learned from the pandemic and our research on its effects.
For decades, funding models have left marginalized students at a real disadvantage. But when the pandemic hit, governments were able to find great funding for programs and initiatives that actually target those who need it most.
Can such private funding continue to stop the continuing inequities in Australian education? David Gonsky, who was appointed by the Gillard government in 2011 to review Australian school funding models, certainly thought so.
Our results cannot be timely. Federal Education Minister Jason Clare recently announced that A team of experts And Ministerial reference group To advise on a new national school reform agreement.
This agreement sets five-year initiatives and goals, tied to funding and agreed upon between the federal government and the states. It represents our best chance of finally getting school funding right.
This article has been republished from Conversation Under Creative Commons Licence. Read the The original article.
the quoteHow Children in Some Disadvantaged Schools Improved Their Results During COVID (2023, May 16) Retrieved May 16, 2023 from https://phys.org/news/2023-05-kids-disadvantaged-schools-results-covid.html
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