We are at a time in history where we may feel little to no control over our circumstances around us. Most of us are bracing and waiting for schools to open up and things to go back to normal. Unfortunately, we must remind you that waiting for things to change is not the best idea when it comes to your children’s education, because even that has consequences. There is a recent study done by The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences which quantifies how much learning loss occurred in the short 8-week lock-down in the Netherlands.
To find out exactly how much learning loss occurred, it was fortunate that Netherlands has 2 yearly standardized tests that observe Math and English skills for each student. The past 3 years of data was also observed to notice the trends.
The study found an average standard deviation of 0.08 or 3 percentile points. This equals to 1/5th of the school year lost. Learning loss was 60% higher in disadvantaged homes. The study concluded that there was little to no progress made in the children’s learning over the 8 weeks. They even suggested that other countries where they were locked down for longer than 8 weeks potentially had significant learning losses. The only factor that was a limitation was that only children 8 years old to 11 years old were observed.
We can see that Netherlands with the shortest lockdown had significant observed learning losses among 350,000 students. The research had some reasons as to why students may be struggling to learn at home. The struggling economy and demands for working from home for families, projected rise in family violence, psychological toll of social isolation, and increased health and mortality risks were some reasons mentioned. Considering how much of a negative impact the lock-down had in just 8 weeks on children 8-11 years old, we cannot imagine how much more devastating it must be for our families and children here In Canada across all age groups, as students have been in and out of school for more than 52 weeks now. We can only pray that students are not losing their confidence along with their understanding in school. We hope parents use this research to take action and make sure their children are getting extra attention at home to fight the educational pandemic.