Local researchers studying how pandemic has affected student learning

ATLANTA — With more students back to in-person instruction, experts say there is no doubt the pandemic affected their learning growth.

Channel 2′s Wendy Corona talked to two Georgia State University researchers who are following national research and studying how local students have been affected and what can be done to help them.

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Maggie Reeves, the Senior Director of GSU’s Georgia Policy Labs, said things like housing insecurity, job loss and food insecurity are just some of the disruptions students faced on top of shifting to a virtual learning environment.

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“We’re all very concerned about the pandemic’s impact on children especially those who might have had big disruptions in their lives,” Reeves said.

The Policy Lab and the Metro Atlanta Policy Lab for Education (MAPLE) are studying this using data from three of five metro area district partners.

“We’re able to really have a lot of credibility for our work nationally because Atlanta is so diverse in many ways,” Reeves said.

The study aims to provide evidence for parents and policy makers to help direct their next best move for individual students.

“The impact should not be some measure of school quality or how well schools respond, it’s really the whole package of impacts on student learning,” GSU Professor Tim Sass said.

Reeves said it’s not necessarily that students are losing learning, it’s that their typical trajectory and growth has been interrupted or disrupted.

The results of the study will center on the academic impact the pandemic placed on learning.

“We’re really exciting about adding the local context here to understand specifically what’s happening in metro Atlanta,” Reeves said.

This is just the latest work conducted by MAPLE. The group has numerous research studies on everything from the teacher hiring process to attendance.

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