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Some pupils particularly affected by first school closure

Analyses based on NCO-LVS data show that there are large differences between primary school pupils in the delay in learning growth due to the first school closure last year

nco factsheets

During the first school closure in primary education in the 2019/2020 school year as a result of the COVID-19 crisis, pupils from all backgrounds experienced delays in learning growth compared to the years before. This can be seen for all three domains: arithmetic, spelling and reading comprehension. However, some pupils experience a greater delay than others. This is what research by scientists from Maastricht University reveals on the basis of the Netherlands Cohort Study on Education (NCO). 

Socio-economic status

Dr. Carla Haelermans is national coordinator of the NCO and involved in the study from the Research Centre for Education and the Labour Market (ROA). "The effects of (partial) school closure have been strongest for pupils from low and average socio-economic backgrounds. For arithmetic, spelling and reading comprehension, the delay in learning growth is about one and a half times greater for pupils from low and average socio-economic backgrounds (SES) than for those from high socio-economic backgrounds. In addition to these differences in socio-economic background, there is an additional delay in learning growth among pupils from non-western migrant backgrounds, pupils from single-parent families and large families (with more than three children living at home). In addition, the results also show that pupils who previously had a higher learning growth than pupils with a lower learning growth experience fewer delays," says Haelermans.

Differences between schools

Schools with a high percentage of low-SES pupils perform relatively poorly. This effect comes on top of the effect for the low-SES pupils themselves. This means that also the other pupils at these schools are extra affected. Furthermore, schools that showed a higher learning growth before COVID-19 are better able to cushion the consequences of the school closure than schools that also had a lower learning growth before.

Especially problems in reading comprehension

Although learning growth has been lower in all three areas since COVID-19 (2019/20), the difference in percentage terms is greatest for reading comprehension (25% less learning growth), followed by mathematics (16% less learning growth) and lowest for spelling (14% less learning growth).


Factsheets [in Dutch]

>> More about the NCO factsheets: Factsheets - Nationaal cohort onderzoek


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