Remote learning does not work for all: devastating drop in learning outcomes in the U.S. following the Covid pandemic

The pandemic and lockdown have hit hard the education system in the U.S.

As reported by the New York Times, in the U.S., students in most states and across almost all demographic groups have experienced troubling setbacks in both math and reading, according to the first nationwide test results since the pandemic released last month and called the National Assessment of Educational Progress.

Test results in math and readings show that the scores by 4th and 8th graders across all 50 states have plummeted to levels not seen in 20 years.

You can listen to the analysis in this episode of The Daily podcast.


Remote learning during the pandemic does not seem to have worked in the U.S. Why is that?

Social and economic inequality has been a key factor in determining whether remote learning worked or not.

To me, it shows that teaching and learning are interlinked with elements of a wider system of social and economic interactions.

Improved learning orucomes can contribute to shaping the social and economic factors that shape the systems, but, more often that not, these factors impact the learning by students.

The fact that remote learning in an advance economy such as the U.S did not work for the majority of students is surprising because of the resources that have been provided by the government to support its education system. It shows that financial resources alone are not sufficient to sustain remote learning and hybrid teaching approaches.

It shows, in my opinion, that is necessary to look at a range of interlinked factors that shape and influence remote learning, including innovation, digital technology, capabilities, economic inequality, budget allocations, regulatory reforms, etc.

This is where, as we argued in this paper, a systems analysis of education can help.

Photo credit: PMChe Lee on Unsplash

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