Department of Education to Study the Pandemic’s Impact on Learning and Teaching

covid schoolImage by Alexandra Koch

HARRISBURG, PA — The Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) will use a nearly $1 million federal grant to study the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on K-12 students across Pennsylvania and recommend educational strategies to help students and schools move forward.

“Our school communities and families have remained resilient during the pandemic, and we are thankful for their ability to pivot throughout the challenges we have faced,” said Acting Secretary of Education Noe Ortega. “The ability for us to examine inequities in education will help us create responsive teaching and learning opportunities in future years.”

Pennsylvania is one of seven states awarded the two-year grant. PDE is partnering with Mathematica to conduct the research and results will be released late next year.

The findings from this research will help policymakers and educators in Pennsylvania understand the challenges faced by students most harmed by COVID-19, identify ways to respond to possible future epidemics, assess whether some remote-learning strategies are more effective than others, consider recruitment and retention strategies for teachers who may be most effective for disadvantaged students, and better identify students at risk of dropping out.

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The $998,574 grant from the Institute for Education Sciences (IES) was awarded to PDE to examine educational inequities in the wake of COVID-19 to assess the impacts of strategies that might reduce inequities and enhance student learning. The total cost of the project is $1,192,552.60. The federal grant (which covers 83.7 percent of the total cost), and an additional $194,978.60 in non-federal funds will cover the remaining portion of the total cost (16.3 percent).

Throughout the global pandemic, Pennsylvania has demonstrated a commitment to documenting the educational and other harms experienced by students, educators, and families.

IES is the statistics, research, and evaluation arm of the U.S. Department of Education. Their mission is to provide scientific evidence on which to ground education practice and policy and to share this information in formats that are useful and accessible to educators, parents, policymakers, researchers, and the public.

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For more information on the Pennsylvania Department of Education, please visit the website.

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