In March 2020, most schools in the United States transitioned to distance learning in an effort to contain COVID-19. During the transition, a significant number of students did not fully engage in remote learning opportunities due to resource or other constraints. An urgent question for schools around the nation is how much the pandemic impacted student outcomes.
In a recent article published by Educational Researcher, the authors used administrative panel data from six large CORE Districts in California to approximate the impact of the pandemic by analyzing how absenteeism affected student outcomes. The results showed that:
- There were wide variation in absenteeism impacts on academic and social-emotional outcomes by grade and subgroup, as well as the cumulative effect of different degrees of absence.
- Student outcomes generally suffer more from absenteeism in mathematics than in English language arts.
- Negative effects are larger in middle school. Absences also negatively affect social-emotional development, particularly in middle school, which can affect other student outcomes down the line.
Source: Santibañez, L., & Guarino, C. M. (2021). The effects of absenteeism on academic and social-emotional outcomes: Lessons for COVID-19. Educational Researcher. Advanced Online Publication. Doi: 10.3102/0013189X21994488.