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Decrease in learning growth primary education smaller, but not undone yet

Analyses based on NCO data show that primary school pupils still have lower learning growth than usual after one and a half years of COVID-19 crisis.

The balance after one and a half years of the COVID-19 crisis in education: decrease in learning growth partly recovered but learning growth still lower, especially in maths. Vulnerable pupils continue to be hit the hardest.

Primary school pupils still have lower learning growth than usual after one and a half years of COVID-19 crisis, although some of the delay caused by the two school closures has been undone. However, a gap remains between pupils from different socio-economic backgrounds. This is shown in research by scientists from the Research Centre of Education and the Labour Market (ROA) of Maastricht University, based on the Netherlands Cohort Study Education (NCO) of the Netherlands Initiative for Education Research (NRO). They base their analyses on new data on one and a half years of the COVID-19 crisis, during which schools had to close twice but also worked hard to make up for the delay.

Learning growth still lower

For mathematics, reading comprehension and spelling in junior grades, the learning growth is still lower than in the previous period. Only for spelling has there been a higher learning growth since COVID-19 than before. Whereas after one year of crisis, the greatest delays were observed in reading comprehension, this delay has now partly been caught up. After eighteen months, most of the delays in learning growth are found in maths. This delay in learning growth is largest for pupils in grades 4 and 5.

Vulnerable pupils still hit hardest

The figures show that pupils with low-educated parents have more delays in their learning growth than pupils with highly educated parents. Pupils with low-income parents and those with a non-western migration background also experience more delay in learning growth, on top of the effect of parental education.

Differences in learning growth between schools also persist

Pupils in schools with higher percentages of pupils with low-educated parents have the biggest delays in learning growth. In addition, in general, the delay in learning growth is larger in schools in rural areas than in schools in urban areas. School size is also of influence: pupils in smaller schools have experienced the greatest delays.

Netherlands Cohort Study on Education for and by schools

The Netherlands Cohort Study on Education (NCO) builds a bridge between education and research. It ensures that reliable research can be carried out and reduces the research pressure on schools. At the same time, it provides schools with more useful data and insights. The NCO is an initiative of the Netherlands Initiative for Education Research (NRO).

>> More information via Prof. Carla Haelermans, Project leader NCO: carla.haelermans@maastrichtuniversity.nl

 

Factsheets [in Dutch]

>> More about the NCO factsheets: https://www.nationaalcohortonderzoek.nl/factsheets-leergroei
 

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