COVID-19’s Disparate Impact on the Education of Young Black Students

A new study by scholars at Ohio State University finds that the COVID-19 pandemic has had a far more devastating impact on the educational prospects of Black children compared to White children.

In examining the results of third grade students on standardized tests, the authors found that between the fall of 2019 and the fall of 2020 “the proportion of students scoring at the ‘proficient’ level fell by approximately 9 percentage points and the proportion of students scoring sufficiently high to satisfy previous requirements for promotion to fourth grade decreased by approximately 8 percentage points.”

When the figures were broken down by race, the authors found that the test scores of Black students declined more than the scores of White students by 50 percent. This they said was equivalent to one-half year of schooling.

The proportion of students reaching the previous promotion minimum score declined by 13.8 percentage points for Black students, 9.3 for Hispanic students, 5.8 for White students, and 3.4 for Asian American students.

The full study, “The COVID-19 Pandemic and Student Achievement on Ohio’s Third-Grade English Language Arts Assessment,” may be accessed here.


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