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New international study: 35 percent less learning progress due to Corona


Children and young people worldwide learned significantly less during the pandemic than before. Particularly affected: children from poorer countries and families. That shows a new data analysis.

Enlarge image

School lessons under corona conditions (in April 2020 in Haltern am See)


Rolf Vennenbernd/ picture alliance/ dpa

During the corona pandemic, students lost more than a third of their normal learning gains.

Education researchers came to this conclusion in a meta-analysis of various studies on declining learning success during the pandemic.

The results were published on Monday in the science journal Nature Human Behaviour.

A total of 42 individual studies from 15 countries were evaluated for the study.

Four of the datasets came from Germany, others mainly from the USA and Great Britain.

In addition to the deficits in learning, the data also provided information about the economic situation of the children and the respective countries.

The most important results:

  • Pupils in all countries surveyed

    learned significantly less

    during the pandemic than before.

    The losses averaged 35 percent of normal learning progress.

    No differences were found between the different grade levels.

  • According to the results, children with a low socio-economic status

    and from poorer countries

    were particularly affected .

    For example, children in countries like Brazil or Mexico showed a greater learning deficit than in the USA or Great Britain.

  • The

    measured deficit was greater in

    mathematics than in



    The authors explain this by saying that within the family, parents and children tend to work on reading together rather than doing maths.

According to some studies, the learning deficits did not decrease during the pandemic, but remained stable between May 2020 and May 2022, the researchers note.

Therefore, according to their conclusion, the gaps in knowledge can only be compensated for with additional funding programs.

According to the study, the consequences of the pandemic would be exacerbated by the severe shortage of teachers.

"The relevance of the identified learning deficit is immense, because it has a direct impact on teaching," says Klaus Zierer, Professor of School Pedagogy at the University of Augsburg.

The lower the learning performance, the more difficult it becomes for the learner to achieve the standards required by the curricula.

"As a result, it can be expected that a 'Generation Corona' will form, which has suffered particularly badly from the pandemic," warns Zierer.

Benjamin Fauth, head of the Empirical Educational Research department at the Baden-Württemberg Institute for Educational Analysis (IBBW), emphasizes that the meta-analysis included data from very different countries.

Some of the results could therefore not simply be transferred to the German education system: "The learning deficits in poorer countries are significantly greater than in a rather rich country like Germany," says Fauth.

"Overall, however, we also see learning deficits in this country, and above all we also see their unequal distribution: Pupils who had a harder time before the pandemic are much more severely affected."

Source: spiegel

All life articles on 2023-01-30

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