Lingering Effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic on K-12 Education


Laura Loughead

December 7, 2023

The COVID-19 pandemic had a substantial impact on everyone, young and old. While we have yet to understand some of the future impacts, the current impacts are becoming increasingly clear amongst K-12 students.

According to recent findings from the National Assessment of Education Progress, six in ten parents of k-12 students have stated that the first year of the COVID pandemic had a negative effect on their children’s education. For some, the effect may have only been temporary, but for others, their children are still struggling and behind academically. They’re struggling to keep up in the classroom due to lack of understanding those foundational pieces during the year of remote learning and canceled classes.

Children who transitioned into middle school during the pandemic are being impacted the most and there are growing concerns that they won’t catch up academically before graduation. At the start of the pandemic, across the country math scores saw their largest decrease. Nearly four in ten eighth graders failed to grasp basic math concepts. As of this past fall, 8th graders had the least rebound in math and were only slightly better with their recovery in reading. Additionally, a MAP-growth assessment done by NWEA found that the biggest improvement to the achievement gap was in math for grades 4-6 and 5-7 and in grades 3-5 and 4-6 in reading.

Studies have shown that what students learn in school directly contributes to their successes later in life. Milestones such as high school graduation, college aspirations, and success in future career endeavors could all be impacted by the lack of grasping basic concepts in elementary and middle school years.

Not only are students behind academically, but they’re behind emotionally as well. A survey conducted in May 2022 found a 56% increase in classroom disruptions from student misconduct along with increases in rowdiness and tardiness, to name a few. On top of being behind academically from a year of remote learning and school cancellations, students are distracted and disrupted now that they’re back in the classroom.

And students aren’t out of the woods yet. New challenges unrelated to the pandemic are arising daily such as floods, ice storms, hurricanes, and the increasing threats of school violence that are causing distractions and disruptions in the classroom.

As a parent, you may be feeling helpless and a lack of control over the situation. So, how do we help get our children back on track academically? What can we do to control the situation?

#1: Check in with your child regularly

Ask them how school is going. Are they understanding the concepts? Are they feeling a sense of accomplishment in their schoolwork? Do they feel they are keeping up with their peers?

#2: Have a candid conversation with their teachers

Don’t let anything be sugar coated. Get the full picture of how your child is doing academically. Make sure tests aren’t being graded on a curve and your child is gaining mastery of subjects.

#3: Make an action plan if your child is falling behind in a subject

The sooner you get involved, the better. Help your child review concepts at home and be involved in their homework. Ask them to repeat concepts back to you so you can see for yourself how much they’re understanding. Consult a tutor, if necessary, to give your child the best chance of understanding core concepts before the end of the school year.

#4: Consider a summer course

If your child is too behind to catch up or you’re simply concerned they’re going to pass the class without truly grasping the concepts, don’t panic. You’re not alone. Consider a summer course like the ones offered by Holston Academy. Our entire catalog of core courses and electives is available in the summer, offered by semester, and our courses are accredited, which means you can transfer the credits back to your local school easily. But, the best part? Each course comes with built-in tutoring services offered by a certified tutor to ensure your child is gaining mastery of the concepts.

If an online summer course sounds like something that would be a good fit for your child, visit our website, or call us at (833) 782-6922 to learn more or enroll. Summer courses are available for students in grades 6-12 and enrollment in the summer program is open now!

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