Panel A.01 — Academic Learning Losses “in” and “after” the Pandemic: Data, Policies, and Analyses

Convenors Louis Volante (Brock University, Canada); Giancola Orazio (Sapienza Universita Di Roma, Italy)

Keywords Pandemic; Learning Loss; Education Policies; European Union.


In every industrialised country, COVID-19 led to school disruptions, and in most cases, successive weeks of closures with instruction shifted online to help reduce the risk of transmission and keep students safe. Understandably, parents, educators, and policymakers around the world are concerned about the short and long-term impacts associated with the loss of face-to-face instruction and social isolation measures. For the most part, researchers have begun to tackle this timely issue by examining the “learning losses” associated with school disruptions and closures. Simply put, learning loss research attempts to quantify, using large-scale student assessment results, the degree of progress, or lack thereof, in core subject areas such as reading, mathematics, and/or science that have resulted from interruptions to in-person schooling.

Collectively, this body of research suggests that learning stalled during the pandemic and that at-risk socioeconomically disadvantaged K-12 student populations were disproportionately impacted, as showed in a forthcoming edited volume that examines this complex issue across Europe is also discussed, highlighting achievement outcomes and policy reforms in England, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Belgium, and Hungary (eds. Schnepf, S., Volante, L., Klinger, D. A., Giancola, O., & Salmieri). However, it is also clear that students in some countries, in part due to the educational policies adopted, have performed better in response to school challenges than others who have shown at least problematic results.

The panel aims to gather contributions on the proposed issue using comparative, national and local level perspectives in order to build an interpretive mosaic with respect to learning loss, growing inequality, and a comparison of pandemic-related education policies and their effects. The session will consist of four presentations: one presentation provides a general overview of global learning losses; three additional presentations feature EU national education systems, including Italy. Each of the presenters will also provide future research directions, particularly those that have implications for fostering more equitable learning outcomes for at-risk and socioeconomically disadvantaged student populations.


Guidelines and abstracts submission