The Path of Student Learning Delay During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Evidence from Michigan
Educators and policymakers have been concerned that the COVID-19 pandemic has led to substantial delays in learning due to disruptions, anxiety, and remote schooling. We study student achievement patterns over the pandemic using a combination of state summative and higher frequency benchmark assessments for middle school students in Michigan. Comparing pre-pandemic to post-pandemic cohorts we find that math and ELA achievement growth dropped by 0.22, and 0.03 standard deviations more than expected, respectively, between 2019 and 2022. These drops were larger for Black, Latino, and economically disadvantaged students, as well as students in districts that were at least partially remote in 2021-22. Benchmark assessment results are consistent with summative assessments and show sharp drops in 2020-21 followed by a partial recovery and potential stall-out in 2021-22.
This work was supported by grants received from the State of Michigan and private philanthropy. The views expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Bureau of Economic Research.