Research Indicates Significant Deterioration In Pupil Performance During The Pandemic
Analysis from PAQ Research and Kalibro indicates that on average children lost an equivalent of 3 months of learning, based on results from standardised tests in Czech and mathematics. Credit: Freepik.
Czech Rep, Oct 6 (BD) – The Covid-19 epidemic put back Czech students’ progress by around three months, according to research by PAQ Research and Kalibro. Test results indicated a decline of 15-17 percentage points in Czech and mathematics. The differences were observed in around 60% of schools for Czech, and 69% of schools for mathematics.
Furthermore, the research has confirmed fears that the pandemic has worsened the learning gap between children from different social strata. Data from the Ministry of Education show that 11,000 children did not participate in distance learning at all, corresponding to 1% of primary school pupils. For this reason, said sociologist Daniel Prokop, founder of PAQ research, the government should allocate extra funding to fill these gaps.
PAQ Research and Kalibro tested fifth-grade pupils in 88 primary schools in Czech and mathematics in spring 2020 and 2021, before and after the pandemic. According to Prokop, some of the decline in children’s skills can be made up when pupils return to school continuously. At the moment, the test results indicate that pupils lost the equivalent of three months of learning.
In addition to the general worsening of learning, the research highlights that the phenomenon was worse in the results of children from a disadvantaged socio-economic situation.
“The results show that pupils with better educated parents could benefit from the home environment and parental participation in their education,” said Václav Korbel, PAQ Research analyst.. “Their achievements have not declined so much. On the other hand, schools with more children with low socio-economic status have lagged significantly behind. Because these schools were already performing poorly before the pandemic, they have a high risk of further delay and educational failure.”
The Ministry of Education has announced a National Tutoring Plan, to provide tutoring courses to support children with learning difficulties affected by the pandemic, and will allocate an extra approximately CZK 3 billion to schools from the beginning of 2022 to help catch up with lost progress. Prokop recommended that the government direct this funding above all to schools with more poor families, with the worst results.
“The pandemic underlined the need for tools to identify the schools and pupils most in need. Pupils from poorer families, who, for example, receive family allowances, not just after a pandemic, need educational support to bridge the gap in learning from home,” he said.