The balance after a year and a half of the COVID-19 crisis in education

Vulnerable students remain the hardest hit by COVID-19

The balance after a year and a half of the COVID-19 crisis in education: the corona delay has partly been made up, but learning growth is still lower, especially in mathematics. Vulnerable students remain the hardest hit. Primary school pupils still see a slowdown in learning growth after a year and a half, although part of the slowdown caused by the two school closures has been made up.

However, there is still a gap between students from different socio-economic backgrounds. This is apparent from research by Professor Carla Haelermans from Maastricht University and other scientists based on the National Education Cohort Survey (NCO) of the National Education Research Agency (NRO). The scientist come up with new figures based on a year and a half of the COVID-19 crisis, in which schools had to close twice but also worked hard to make up for the delay.

Still slowing down in learning growth

Learning growth is still lower in arithmetic mathematics, reading comprehension and spelling in the lower years than in the previous period. Only in spelling can a higher learning growth be seen in the upper years since COVID-19 than before. While the greatest delays in reading comprehension were observed after one year of crisis, this delay has partly been made up. After a year and a half, most of the delay in learning growth is still in arithmetic and mathematics. The delay in learning growth is greatest among students in groups 6 and 7.

Vulnerable students still hit hardest

The figures show that students with low-educated parents have a greater delay in learning growth than students with highly-educated parents. Students with low-income parents and students with a non-Western migration background also note more delays in learning growth, on top of the effect of the parents' educational level.

Differences in learning growth between schools remain also

Pupils in schools with higher percentages of pupils with less educated parents have experienced the greatest delay in learning growth. In addition, the delay in learning growth is generally greater in schools in rural areas than in schools in urban areas. School size also has an influence: pupils in smaller schools have suffered the greatest delays.

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