10 lessons from past educational disruptions

By: | March 10, 2021

Compared to a normal year, students learned less in 2020, were more likely to fail their classes and were less likely to be in school at all. Is this all just temporary? As we move into 2021, will everything start returning back to normal?

Based on the research on past educational disruptions, the answers are sobering: We should expect large learning losses that will affect the current generation of students for the rest of their lives. Here are 10 key lessons from that body of research:

1. Lost learning time will translate into lost learning.
Years and sometimes even decades after a disruption in schooling, researchers are able to detect noticeable differences in student outcomes. That’s part of why states have mandatory attendance laws in the first place, why they require schools to make up for snow days and why they are concerned about students who are chronically absent. The more school students miss, the less likely they are to graduate from high school and college, earn a good job and remain gainfully employed as adults.

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