November 29, 2020

New Report NYU’s Marron Institute Finds Disparities in K-12 Students Accessing Digital Assignments Have Grown During COVID-19

From New York University:

The number of students who accessed digital assignments from their teacher plummeted in many states, with the loss largely concentrated in high-poverty schools.

Remote learning expanded dramatically due to the pandemic, but the number of students who accessed digital assignments from their teacher plummeted in many states, with the loss largely concentrated in high-poverty schools, according to a report by the Marron Institute of Urban Management at New York University.

Fifty-seven million students were affected by pandemic-related school closures in the United States. To measure the impact of the move to digitally based learning, the Marron Institute used anonymized data from one of the largest ed-tech providers, ReadWorks, which has over 1.2 million educators actively using its platform.

New signups by K-12 educators increased by 261 percent since the start of school closures in mid-March, and there was a 157 percent increase in new assignments made on the ReadWorks platform, compared with 2019. While 35 percent of educators actively used ReadWorks (assigning materials to their students digitally, rather than in print or projecting) pre-COVID, the figure grew to 62 percent post-COVID.

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In the states with the most substantial reductions, the number of students who accessed a digital assignment from their teacher dropped by 30 percentage points or more, including in Hawaii, Iowa, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nevada, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and Virginia, according to the report, titled “Learning Disparities During COVID-19.”

Mississippi had the largest decline, a 36 percentage-point reduction.

The researchers found that the states with the smallest reductions in digital access by their students since the closures—by 10 percentage points at most—were Florida, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Wyoming.

The data examined for the report comprised more than 256 million student assignments.

Direct to Full Text Report: Learning Disparities During COVID-19

About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.

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