Impact of COVID-19 on Language Arts (reading): A cohort comparison | UNB

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Impact of COVID-19 on Language Arts (reading): A cohort comparison

Category(s): Health
Status: Active
Principal: Ted McDonald
Project Number: P0086
Year Approved: 2022

Project Description

COVID-19 has impacted how school-aged children engage with our public education system in many ways that have evolved over the duration of the pandemic in response to longer term challenges and short-term crises. Although schools were closed to in-person classes in the final term of the 2019-2020 school year, for the 2020-21 academic year schools reopened with modified procedures that affected students’ experiences from arrival at school to departure. This included a blended remote and in-person instruction model for high school students but even for younger children with full-time in-person instruction, modified procedures led to a markedly different school experience for those children. In some cases, schools that were directly impacted by COVID-19 cases were closed for a period of time which impacted even more teaching and learning. Teachers were forced to adjust their teaching approaches in difficult conditions created by the rapid and unforeseen changes and uncertainties throughout the education system. Students were obliged to adapt in how they engaged and learned in these new and unstable realities.

The potential effects on an individual student are likely to be as varied as the children themselves. This research will identify factors that will help policymakers to understand and potentially address sources of vulnerability in the New Brunswick school system that the COVID-19 pandemic and accompanying adjustments to the provision of education highlighted. As such, the results may inform future pedagogical interventions in both linguistic sectors.

This study seeks to examine the impact of COVID-19 disruptions on the academic achievement of younger students in New Brunswick and how vulnerability, variously measured, might have modified such effects. Specifically, this research aims to identify the individual and school factors that could explain how learning outcomes in language arts (reading) have been affected by the response to COVID-19 (during the 2019-20 shut-down and the 2020-21 modified school year).

Given the fact that K-12 education in NB is organized along linguistic lines, the analysis will reflect this structure in its research design, in particular through separate empirical analysis for each sector. Within each sector we will use both descriptive and statistical methods within a case-control approach.