Academic impacts of remote learning during the COVID-19 pandemic

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As schools across the nation gear up for fall classes, the “COVID slide” is on teachers’, parents’, and students’ minds.

Over a typical summer, students’ academic gains can decline by up to two months—and experts worry the transition to remote learning due to the COVID-19 school closures that occurred in the spring will exacerbate students’ learning losses this year.

The latest information

A new survey underscores the academic hurdles students will face as school resumes in the fall.

Recently, the American Institutes for Research (AIR) published preliminary results from a national survey of schools’ responses to the COVID-19 pandemic. Here are some of the important impacts of the transition to remote learning during the pandemic:

  • Schools expected high school students to spend only 3.9 hours per day on instructional activities. Most states normally require high school students to spend 6 hours per day on instructional activities.
  • Students in high-poverty districts were expected to spend 3.69 hours per day on instructional activities, versus 4.15 hours per day for students in low-poverty districts.
  • Only 13% of districts focused primarily on reviewing content taught earlier in the year, a shift from earlier studies that showed higher percentages of schools focusing on review rather than introducing new material during the pandemic.

Note: AIR will continue to share updated results throughout the summer.

What this means for students

A majority of schools expected students to spend less time learning each day while teachers continued to introduce new material. On top of those challenges, teachers have reported sharp declines in student engagement and retention during the transition to remote learning.

All of this means it's likely that many students will head into their fall classes needing to overcome content gaps arising from a disjointed end to the school year.

However, the next several weeks can be a good opportunity for catching up and getting a head start on fall content. Learn more about how you can brush up on content from the spring and get ahead on fall coursework.


Need more individualized advice?

The recommendations above are general suggestions. If you have specific questions or you would like help developing a personalized plan, reach out to our experts here. We’re happy to help in any way we can.


About ArborBridge

ArborBridge is the global leader in innovative, digital, one-on-one tutoring. With nearly a decade of experience teaching students online, ArborBridge supports students of all kinds: home schoolers, AP students, test preppers, and more. Our tutors specialize in creating personalized plans and in providing compassionate support for students and families.

Erin Ohsie-Frauenhofer

About Erin Ohsie-Frauenhofer

As one of the highest-performing tutors in ArborBridge’s history, Erin coaches tutors and develops tools and trainings to disrupt old habits and empower new strengths. With a Master of Arts in Teaching from Brown University, Erin worked as a classroom teacher and student services director prior to joining ArborBridge in 2017. Her decade of success as an educator has prepared her to ensure that programs are tailored to individual students’ needs.

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