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The COVID-19 Pandemic and Student Achievement on Ohio’s Third-Grade English Language Arts Assessment

Published Date January 27, 2021
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This report draws on data from the fall administration of Ohio’s annual Third-Grade English Language Arts assessment to provide an initial look at how the COVID pandemic has affected student learning in the state. We find that average achievement declined by approximately 0.23 standard deviations between fall 2019 and 2020, roughly equivalent to one-third of a year’s worth of learning. There is significant variation across districts, however, as ten percent of Ohio’s 609 districts did not experience declines in test scores and another ten percent experienced declines of over 0.46 standard deviations (approximately three-quarters of a year’s worth of learning). It appears that COVID-related unemployment explains approximately one-third of the year-to-year decrease in average test scores statewide. The test score impacts are significantly larger for Black students and in districts that began the year with fully remote instruction.