How Has the COVID Slide Impacted Students?

Before school even started, educators and experts across the education industry were concerned about “the COVID slide”. Much like the summer slide, the COVID slide refers to a loss of knowledge or struggle to meet benchmark metrics that many students may face after difficulties with zoom learning and connectivity issues. The subjects that were the most concerning? Reading and math. Now that the school year has begun, how are students actually doing? How has the feared COVID slide impacted students?

Well, it turns out that the impact COVID-19 has had on students is kind of a mixed bag. An ongoing study by Renaissance shows that while students are still on track when it comes to reading, math and social emotional learning seem to be a struggle.


According to the study 51% of students tested were performing at or above their grade level in reading, compared to 52% of students last year. While there is a slight dip in performance, this drop isn’t substantial and shows that for the most part reading has translated well to online learning. But what about math- a subject that already tends to be difficult for students to learn.


 The article goes on to explain that of the students surveyed “In 2019, 65% of these students were at/above grade level, and in 2020, 59% were. This 6 percentage-point drop represents more than 60,000 students. The data also showed a 15% increase in the number of students identified as “needing intervention” in math.” This shift supports the concerns held earlier this year that math would be difficult for students to learn without in-person support from their instructors.


One newer concern since the start of online learning has been Social Emotional Learning (SEL). Without connecting face to face with peers and educators, many students are missing out on learning and understanding how to interact with peers, emotions, and the world around them. With so many unknown factors and changes, there has truly never been a more important time for SEL.

While a lot remains to be seen on how the rest of the year will shape up, there are still a lot of questions and concerns circulating. What can be done to help? What tools or techniques can schools adopt to support students and staff in the months and years to come?  Find out next week


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