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  • Writer's pictureJoanne Jacobs

College students lost learning too, but how much?

Universities aren't even trying to figure out how much students lost when classes went remote, writes Jonathan Zimmerman, who teaches education and history at Penn, in the Philadelphia Inquirer.

His university went remote in March 2020 and didn't resume in-person classes until September 2021, he writes. Did students learn less? Nobody wants to know.

A nationwide survey of 2,000 students in June 2021 showed that over half of them believed they learned less in the previous year than they had before COVID. More students are also reporting lower levels of psychological well-being, which likely inhibited their learning as well.

"So far as I know, no major institution made a full-scale commitment to determining how much — or little — their students learned during the pandemic, when so much instruction went online," he writes.

"There’s no national test in higher education — like the National Assessment of Educational Progress for K-12 schools — to help us frame an answer," writes Zimmerman.

Universities haven't invested in improving or evaluating professors' teaching effectiveness, he writes. "We know much more about what helps college students succeed in the classroom," but many professors aren't aware of the research and get no training in how to teach, he writes. "Then we evaluate a professor’s instruction via student surveys, a notoriously imprecise tool."

The State of the American Student in 2022 is "alarming," write Robin Lake and Travis Pillow.

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