For students in America, the beginning of the pandemic was simply a short vacation. To them, quarantine was merely a time to slack off and spend with friends. However, looking back 11 months later, we’re realizing how foolish we truly were.
While patients suffering from COVID-19 should be the nation’s first priority, our students are coping through varying academic issues, such as standardized testing, college applications, or even keeping up with assignments. The new form of online learning is difficult for everyone, even students who were once excelling in-person. There is a surplus of modifications that students must adapt to and yet the workload is generally the same, leaving many struggling with mental health and crouching over desks late at night.
The most common problem for online learning is accessing the correct materials and internet. Research shows that these new learning strategies are only effective when scholars have steady access to WiFi and computers. Additionally, learning from home removes the ability to consult peers and poses no active reasons for motivation. Therefore, students require more attention and personalized materials than when school was in-person. More ramifications of the pandemic have been the delay and modifications of college-required tests like the SAT and ACT. Such tests have been postponed for current high school seniors and the SAT subject tests and the optional essay have been cancelled for future test-takers.
These countless changes in our learning system have not only impacted the way schools teach but also the way students learn. First, the school day has been shortened significantly, reducing the amount of content students learn. The Programme for International Student Assessment states that on average, students increase in their performance from 0.3 and 0.5 standard deviations (SD) to 0.7 SD annually. Studies from the 2019-2020 school year show that this data decreased by 0.1 SD and impacted younger grade levels even more. If the school day is increased by merely an hour, performance in elementary school children will already increase by about 0.05 SD.
In conclusion, the transition to online learning has been difficult on our youth and isn’t a suitable replacement for traditional learning methods. It offers increased stress levels with no benefits in overall knowledge gain. Pupils are anticipating the end to this long vacation, and while this experience has been a tough one, it solidifies the importance of a formal education.