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Publication Detail
Learning Disruption or Learning Loss: Using evidence from unplanned closures to inform returning to school after COVID-19
  • Publication Type:
    Journal article
  • Publication Sub Type:
  • Authors:
    Harmey S, Moss G
  • Publisher:
    Taylor & Francis
  • Publication date:
  • Journal:
    Educational Review
  • Status:
  • Print ISSN:
  • Keywords:
    COVID-19, Learning Loss, Learning Disruption
Throughout COVID-19 pandemic, the immediate and longer-term effects of school closures and ongoing interruptions on children’s learning have been a source of considerable apprehension to many. In an attempt to anticipate and mitigate the effect of school closures, researchers and policy-makers have turned to the learning loss literature, research that estimates the effect of summer holidays on academic achievement. However, school closures due to COVID-19 have taken place under very different conditions, making the utility of such a literature debatable. Instead, this study is based on a rapid evidence assessment of research on learning disruption - extended and unplanned periods of school closure following unprecedented events, such as SARs or weather-related events. We argue that this literature provides clearer evidence on what helps children return to learning under similar conditions, and in this sense has more direct relevance for schools after COVID-19. A narrative synthesis of key recommendations is presented. Key findings are: i) that school leaders’ local knowledge is pivotal in leading a return to school, ii) the curriculum needs to be responsive to children’s needs, and iii) that schools are essential in supporting the mental health of students. A discussion of the applicability and utility of these findings is provided in light of emerging evidence of challenges faced by schools in the context of an ongoing global pandemic and the disruption to education it continues to create.
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