New research shows negative effects from remote learning

Coronavirus

CHICAGO (NewsNation Now) — New research shows remote learning, although beneficial when it comes to reducing the spread of germs, could have a negative long-term impact on some students.

John Gatta is the CEO of ECRA Group – an Illinois-based educational research and analytics company focusing on the impact of remote learning on students all across the country.

“The effects of COVID-19 have been very different student-to-student and very different district-to-district,” said Gatta. “We look at how students have grown in the past and how their learning trajectories have been in the past. We can use that info to answer the question: ‘where would the learning be today or now if it was never interrupted by COVID-19?”

Gatta says preliminary research shows many students do not seem to be impacted. Others may be behind, but not by much, there are even students who are excelling with remote learning.

“But then you have that other group that has significantly fallen and that gap between where they are, versus where they were projected to be given their histories, that’s going to take a much longer time,” said Gatta.

He explains the “longer time” he’s referring to is the amount of time it will take students in this underperforming group to catch up to where they would have been if school had remained in-person.

“The impact definitely seems to be larger in the younger grades than the older grades – negative- meaning learning loss,” said Gatta.

Kimberly Bird with Alpine School district in Salt Lake City, Utah says they’re seeing a drastic decline in educational achievement.

“Last year in term one, 97% of our students passed their first term’s credit. This year, our face-to-face students passed at 90%. However, our online students – they passed their credits in the 60% range,” said Bird.


Gatta says while there may be no easy answers, it’s vitally important to continue measuring students success.

“We need to stay focused on continually assessing where our students are. As difficult as it is to talk about testing and assessment right now, which is understandable — it plays a really important role,” said Gatta.

A study by consulting firm McKinsey and Company shows if U.S. students are back in the classroom by the beginning of 2021, students would have about 6 months of “learning loss” on average. However, if students aren’t back till next fall, the “learning loss” would be about 12.5 months.

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