2021 April 27;118(17):e2022376118.

doi: 10.1073/pnas.2022376118.

Learning loss due to schoolhouse closures during the COVID-19 pandemic


  • PMID:


  • PMCID:


  • DOI:


Gratuitous PMC article

Learning loss due to school closures during the COVID-19 pandemic

Per Engzell
 et al.

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A.


Complimentary PMC commodity


Suspension of face-to-face up instruction in schools during the COVID-19 pandemic has led to concerns virtually consequences for students’ learning. So far, information to study this question have been limited. Here we evaluate the consequence of schoolhouse closures on principal schoolhouse performance using exceptionally rich data from The Netherlands (n
≈ 350,000). Nosotros use the fact that national examinations took identify before and after lockdown and compare progress during this period to the same catamenia in the 3 previous years. The Netherlands underwent only a relatively short lockdown (8 wk) and features an equitable organisation of school funding and the globe’s highest charge per unit of broadband access. Still, our results reveal a learning loss of almost 3 percentile points or 0.08 standard deviations. The effect is equivalent to one-fifth of a school year, the same period that schools remained airtight. Losses are up to 60% larger among students from less-educated homes, confirming worries about the uneven toll of the pandemic on children and families. Investigating mechanisms, we notice that virtually of the event reflects the cumulative impact of noesis learned rather than transitory influences on the day of testing. Results remain robust when balancing on the estimated propensity of handling and using maximum-entropy weights or with stock-still-furnishings specifications that compare students within the same school and family. The findings imply that students made little or no progress while learning from abode and suggest losses fifty-fifty larger in countries with weaker infrastructure or longer school closures.

Popular:   How to Learn British Accent Quora


COVID-19; digital separate; learning loss; schoolhouse closures; social inequality.

Conflict of interest statement

The authors declare no competing interest.


Fig. 1.

Distribution of testing dates 2017 to 2020 and timeline of 2020 school closures. Density curves evidence the distribution of testing dates for national standardized assessments in 2020 and the iii comparing years 2017 to 2019. Vertical lines show the first and end of nationwide school closures in 2020. Schools closed nationally on March 16 and reopened on May 11, afterward 8 wk of remote learning. Our difference-in-differences design compares learning progress between the two testing dates in 2020 to that in the 3 previous years.

Fig. 2.

Fig. 2.

Divergence in test scores 2017 to 2020. Density curves show the difference betwixt students’ percentile placement betwixt the commencement and the second test in each of the years 2017 to 2020. Note that this graph does not adjust for confounding due to trends, testing appointment, or sample composition, which we address in subsequent analyses using a variety of techniques.

Fig. 3.

Fig. 3.

Estimates of learning loss for the whole sample and by subgroup and test. The graph shows estimates of learning loss from a difference-in-differences specification that compares learning progress between the two testing dates in 2020 to that in the iii previous years. Statistical controls include time elapsed between testing dates and a linear trend in year. Point estimates are with 95% confidence intervals, with robust standard errors accounting for clustering at the school level. One percentile point corresponds to

0.025 SD. Where non otherwise noted, furnishings refer to a composite score of math, spelling, and reading. Regression tables underlying these results tin can be found in

SI Appendix, section seven.1


Fig. 4.

Fig. 4.

Robustness to specification. The graph shows estimates of learning loss for the whole sample and separately by parental pedagogy, using a diverseness of adjustments for loss to follow-up. Point estimates are with 95% conviction intervals, with robust standard errors accounting for clustering at the school level. For details, see
Materials and Methods

SI Appendix, sections iv.two and 7.4–7.8


Fig. 5.

Fig. 5.

Noesis learned vs. transitory influences. The graph compares estimates for the composite achievement score in our main analysis (lite color) with test not designed to assess curricular content (night color). Both sets of estimates refer to our baseline specification reported in Fig. iii. Indicate estimates are with 95% confidence intervals, with robust standard errors bookkeeping for clustering at the school level. For details, see
Materials and Methods

SI Appendix, sections 3.1 and 7.8


Like articles

  • Measures implemented in the schoolhouse setting to incorporate the COVID-nineteen pandemic: a scoping review.

    Krishnaratne S, Pfadenhauer LM, Coenen Thousand, Geffert 1000, Jung-Sievers C, Klinger C, Kratzer S, Littlecott H, Movsisyan A, Rabe JE, Rehfuess Eastward, Sell Yard, Strahwald B, Stratil JM, Voss Southward, Wabnitz K, Burns J.
    Krishnaratne S, et al.
    Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2020 December 17;12:CD013812. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD013812.
    Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2020.

  • Estimation of United states Children’south Educational Attainment and Years of Life Lost Associated With Chief Schoolhouse Closures During the Coronavirus Disease 2019 Pandemic.

    Christakis DA, Van Cleve W, Zimmerman FJ.
    Christakis DA, et al.
    JAMA Netw Open. 2020 Nov ii;three(xi):e2028786. doi: 10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2020.28786.
    JAMA Netw Open. 2020.

    Free PMC commodity.

  • Parental Mental Health and Children’s Behaviors and Media Usage during COVID-19-Related School Closures.

    Kim SJ, Lee S, Han H, Jung J, Yang SJ, Shin Y.
    Kim SJ, et al.
    J Korean Med Sci. 2021 Jun 28;36(25):e184. doi: x.3346/jkms.2021.36.e184.
    J Korean Med Sci. 2021.

    Gratuitous PMC article.

  • Students’ attitude and slumber design during school closure following COVID-19 pandemic quarantine: a web-based survey in southward of Iran.

    Ranjbar Grand, Hosseinpour H, Shahriarirad R, Ghaem H, Jafari K, Rahimi T, Mirahmadizadeh A, Hosseinpour P.
    Ranjbar K, et al.
    Environ Health Prev Med. 2021 Mar 10;26(1):33. doi: 10.1186/s12199-021-00950-four.
    Environ Health Prev Med. 2021.

    Free PMC article.

  • School closures were over-weighted against the mitigation of COVID-xix transmission: A literature review on the bear upon of schoolhouse closures in the United states.

    Tan W.
    Tan W.
    Medicine (Baltimore). 2021 Jul xxx;100(30):e26709. doi: 10.1097/MD.0000000000026709.
    Medicine (Baltimore). 2021.

    Free PMC article.

Cited by

  • From Full Solar day Learning to 30 Minutes a Day: A Descriptive Study of Early Learning During the First COVID-19 Pandemic Schoolhouse Shutdown in Ontario.

    Spadafora N, Reid-Westoby C, Pottruff M, Wang J, Janus M.
    Spadafora N, et al.
    Early on Child Educ J. 2022 Jan 16:i-13. doi: x.1007/s10643-021-01304-z. Online ahead of print.
    Early Kid Educ J. 2022.

    Complimentary PMC commodity.

  • SARS-CoV-2 Saliva Mass Screening in Main Schools: A 10-Week Sentinel Surveillance Study in Munich, Germany.

    Vogel S, von Both U, Nowak E, Ludwig J, Köhler A, Lee N, Dick E, Rack-Hoch A, Wicklein B, Neusser J, Wagner T, Schubö A, Ustinov One thousand, Schimana W, Busche Southward, Kolberg L, Hoch Thou.
    Vogel South, et al.
    Diagnostics (Basel). 2022 January 11;12(i):162. doi: x.3390/diagnostics12010162.
    Diagnostics (Basel). 2022.

    Free PMC article.

  • Measures implemented in the school setting to contain the COVID-19 pandemic: a rapid review.

    Krishnaratne S, Littlecott H, Sell K, Burns J, Rabe JE, Stratil JM, Litwin T, Kreutz C, Coenen K, Geffert K, Boger AH, Movsisyan A, Kratzer Due south, Klinger C, Wabnitz K, Strahwald B, Verboom B, Rehfuess E, Biallas RL, Jung-Sievers C, Voss South, Pfadenhauer LM.
    Krishnaratne S, et al.
    Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2022 Jan 17;1(i):CD015029. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD015029.
    Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2022.


  • Prevalence of run a risk behaviors and correlates of SARS-CoV-2 positivity amongst in-schoolhouse contacts of confirmed cases in a Georgia school commune in the pre-vaccine era, December 2020-January 2021.

    Hast Chiliad, Swanson G, Scott C, Oraka E, Espinosa C, Burnett E, Kukielka EA, Rice ME, Mehari Fifty, McCloud J, Miller D, Franklin R, Tate JE, Kirking HL, Morris East.
    Hast Yard, et al.
    BMC Public Health. 2022 Jan 14;22(1):101. doi: 10.1186/s12889-021-12347-7.
    BMC Public Wellness. 2022.

    Complimentary PMC commodity.

  • Affect of COVID-nineteen lockdowns on adolescent pregnancy and schoolhouse dropout among secondary schoolgirls in Republic of kenya.

    Zulaika G, Bulbarelli M, Nyothach E, van Eijk A, Bricklayer L, Fwaya E, Obor D, Kwaro D, Wang D, Mehta SD, Phillips-Howard PA.
    Zulaika Thousand, et al.
    BMJ Glob Health. 2022 January;vii(1):e007666. doi: ten.1136/bmjgh-2021-007666.
    BMJ Glob Health. 2022.

    Free PMC commodity.


    1. United Nations , Teaching During COVID-19 and Beyond (UN Policy Briefs, 2020).
    1. United Nations , Convention on the Rights of the Child (United nations, Treaty Series, 1989).
    1. Brooks Southward. Chiliad., et al. , The impact of unplanned school closure on children’s social contact: Rapid testify review. Euro Surveill., 10.2807/1560-7917.ES.2020.25.thirteen.2000188 (2020). – DOI – PMC – PubMed
    1. Viner R. K., et al. , School closure and direction practices during coronavirus outbreaks including COVID-nineteen: A rapid systematic review. Lancet Child Adolesc. Health 4, 397–404 (2020). – PMC – PubMed
    1. Snape 1000. D., Viner R. M., COVID-19 in children and young people. Science 370, 286–288 (2020). – PubMed

Publication types

MeSH terms

LinkOut – more resources

  • Full Text Sources

  • Other Literature Sources

  • Medical

Source: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33827987/