Remote learning widened achievement gaps in states and districts that kept schools closed the longest, concludes a working paper by Harvard researchers.
Students in high-poverty schools paid a far higher price for virtual learning” than those in low-poverty schools, reports Moriah Balingit in the Washington Post.
“Students in poverty suffered a double-whammy: They stood to lose the most from virtual learning — and they, on average, spent more time learning remotely,” she writes. “High-poverty schools had on average 5.5 more weeks of remote instruction than mid- and low-poverty schools, the study found. Black and Latino students were also more likely to learn online.”
Republican governors in Florida and Texas were harshly criticized for pushing to reopen schools much earlier than in Democrat-controlled states, writes Johannes Schmidt on ADN América.
“Where schools remained in-person, gaps did not widen,” said Thomas Kane, a Harvard education professor and co-author of the study. “Where schools shifted to remote learning, gaps widened sharply.”
“In high-poverty schools that were remote for more than half of 2021, the loss was about half of a school year’s worth of typical achievement growth,” Kane said. “Gaps in math achievement by race and school poverty did not widen in school districts in states such as Texas and Florida and elsewhere that remained largely in-person.”