Inequality in individual and school level effects of primary school closures due to COVID19 – Evidence from the Netherlands

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After more than one year of COVID-19-crisis and the school closures that followed, the concerns about decreased learning gain and inequality are larger than ever. In this paper we use unique data to analyse how one full year of COVID-19-crisis in Dutch primary education has affected learning gains and inequalities. We use a large dataset that includes around 450,000 Dutch primary students from about 1,600 schools, with standardized test scores for reading, spelling and mathematics, as well as rich (family) background information on the students. The results show a drop in learning gain over a full year for all three domains, varying from 0.08 standard deviations for spelling to 0.14 for math and 0.17 standard deviations for reading. Furthermore, we find that this drop in learning gain is (much) larger for children with low parental socioeconomic status and income, for children from one-parent-households, and for children with many siblings. This implies that the already existing inequalities between students from different backgrounds has increased. These results are quite alarming and suggest that although distance learning may have prevented even more damage, compared with no education at all, it could not compensate for classroom teaching.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 19 Jun 2021
EventESPE 2021 - Online, Barcelona, Spain
Duration: 17 Jun 202119 Jun 2021


ConferenceESPE 2021
Other34th annual conference of ESPE (European Society for Population Economics)
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