Covid and the future of education


Calculations with MAP Growth data

COVID-19 has instilled a sense of uncertainty in our world, country, and even classroom. Aspects of our schools have drastically changed leaving students and staff unaware if it will ever be the same as before. Schools have done all they can to ensure their students and staff are safe and feel comfortable at school. Schools used to be a place of hard work and socializing but have changed astronomically thanks to the virus. With masks, spaced-out desks, limited social events, altered homecomings and different lunches, we have no option but to feel isolated. Lingering concerns of academic and social problems have occurred not only affecting students in the classroom, but also mentally. 

Mental health issues have spiked within children and adolescents. Issues such as anxiety, stress and depression have all been seen more frequently with students than ever before. This is caused by the different learning styles, school closures and covid restrictions. 

“The Covid-19 pandemic may worsen existing mental health problems and lead to more cases among children and adolescents because of the unique combination of the public health crisis, social isolation, and economic recession,” writes JAMA Pediatrics.

With face-to-face instruction being limited in some schools during the COVID-19 pandemic, it has led to concerns about consequences for students’ learning. Schools are not to blame considering the public education system was not built, nor prepared, to deal with a situation like this. 

The chart (above) shows the median percentile rank in math by grade level in fall 2019 and fall 2020. As the figure says, the math achievement of students in 2020 was about 5 to 10 percentile points lower compared to the students the year before. (Source: Author calculations with MAP Growth data). 

Schools continue to do the best that they can to give their students the best possible learning and social environment to help them reach their full potential. Life is slowly coming back to what it was years ago, but we still have a long way to go. The future is unknown as far as the pandemic is concerned, but people can only hope for the best and remain as positive as possible.