UDDanKvant seminar: Learning gaps during the corona crisis
Join UDDanKvant's online seminar where Jesper Fels Birkelund and Kristian Karlson will present their working paper “No Evidence of a Major Learning Slide 14 Months into the COVID-19 Pandemic in Denmark”.
We study the long-term effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on children’s academic performance in Denmark 14 months into the pandemic using nationwide and exceptionally rich data on reading test scores and family background (N ≈ 200.000 per year). We find no evidence of any major learning slide. While pupils in grade 8 experienced a three percentile points loss in reading performance, pupils in grades 2 and 4 experienced a learning gain of about five percentile points, possibly resulting from school closures being significantly longer among older (22 weeks) than younger children (eight weeks). Importantly and in contrast to expectations, we find little evidence of widening learning gaps by family background. Still, in grade 8 we see a tendency for gaps by parental income and employment status to widen slightly. Further analyses point to that all of these patterns were already in place a few months into pandemic, suggesting that learning gaps did not widen during the subsequent year in which most of the total lockdown period occurred. We also find some indication that boys and low-performing pupils suffered more from school closures than girls and high-performing pupils, but these differences are minor.