COVID-19's Impact on Education
Report: Students Struggled During Spring Closures
- By Dian Schaffhauser
survey of students in grades 5-12
found that when it came to the spring school closures, the kids
aren't necessarily all right. Large numbers were able to navigate the
mechanics of accessing and turning in their schoolwork (87 percent
and 79 percent, respectively). Nearly six in 10 (57 percent) said
they spent more time than usual on activities they enjoyed. And half
reported that they were able to focus on their learning.
remote learning didn't always result in a lot of learning. Challenges
were especially high for low-income and Latinx students, who cited
lack of ready access to the internet and computing devices more than
other groups of students. Also, female students and those who
identify in a way other than male or female reported struggling more
with mental health and well-being (57 percent and 70 percent, in
order) more than male students (38 percent).
survey was run by YouthTruth,
a national nonprofit that uses feedback from students, families and
staff to help educators understand how to accelerate improvements in
teaching and learning. The organization ran the survey between May 11
and June 19, 2020. A total of 20,438 students in nine states and 166
than half of students (51 percent) said their teachers gave them
assignments that really helped them learn; 39 percent said they
learned "almost every day." Yet, two-thirds (64 percent)
reported having to deal with distractions at home and half overall
said they felt depressed, stressed or anxious.
older the student, the less likely they were to report that they
could motivate themselves to do schoolwork. While 57 percent of grade
5 students said they were motivated, just 26 percent of grade 12
students said the same.
to teachers provided to be a "bright spot" for students.
Six in 10 (61 percent) said their teachers were available to give
them extra help if they needed it. And 54 percent said they had an
adult from school whom they could talk to when they were feeling
upset or stressed or were having a problem.
the same time, less than a third (30 percent) said they felt like
they were part of their school's community. As one middle schooler
told the researchers, "I don't get to see/interact with most of
my friends, I don't get to see/interact with my teachers. Sometimes I
feel alone because my parents go to work and my brother is just
really annoying. I don't feel a part of my school at all."
to healthy activities suffered too. Just a third said they spend time
outside (38 percent) at the same rate as they did during their
"usual" lives; 34 percent said they were eating regular
meals; 33 percent said they were getting enough physical activity;
and 45 percent said they were getting enough sleep.
the seniors who were surveyed, one in five (19 percent) said their
postsecondary plans had changed.
is a critical opportunity now to listen to and learn from students'
lived experiences during this unprecedented time," said
YouthTruth Executive Director, Jen Wilka, in a statement. "As we
navigate the challenges ahead and adapt to new learning models,
student voice and equity must be central to the way school is
has released its findings through a publicly-available
that can be explored in numerous ways. The organization has also
summary of findings on its website
and will host a
webinar to discuss the results
on Tuesday, Aug. 11, 2020 at 12:30 p.m. Eastern time.
Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.