National Survey Shows ‘Devastating’ Pandemic-Era Learning Loss in K-8 across U.S.

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by Leslie Eastman at

A group of researchers from some of the country’s most prestigious institutions reviewed test scores and other data related to educational performance in K-8 across the US.

Their conclusion: There has been a ‘devastating’ level of pandemic-era learning loss throughout the nation.

The “educational harm” caused by the coronavirus pandemic has been “devastating,” according to a recent survey of 26 million K-8 students by researchers at Stanford, Johns Hopkins, Dartmouth and Harvard. The researchers also found that the pandemic “exacerbated economic and racial educational inequality,” as lead authors Tom Kane of Harvard and Sean Reardon of Stanford wrote in a New York Times essay accompanying the release of their findings last week.

Standardized test results have similarly shown that American students are losing ground in math, reading, history and social studies. But the new findings, which are part of the Educational Recovery Scorecard, add important — and troubling — context while also calling for urgent action.
The top line

In a survey of 7,800 communities in 40 states and Washington, D.C., Kane, Reardon and their colleagues found that between 2019 and 2022, the average “U.S. public school student in grades 3-8 lost the equivalent of a half year of learning in math and a quarter of a year in reading.”

The numbers are staggering:

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