Tbatb via Wikimedia Commons

It’s no secret that the pandemic has had a devastating impact on student development and social anxiety. Missing months of in-person learning and critical social interaction has lead to increased academic and mental health challenges for kids everywhere.

Preliminary estimates by the Northwest Evaluation Association (NWEA) suggests some students are as much as one grade behind where they should be under normal conditions. Others are experiencing panic attacks as a result of what experts are calling a “harmful weakening of their socializing muscles.”

Although this is a nationwide phenomenon, a new study from the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), shows that public school students in Virginia have seen the most dramatic drop in their test scores. (Bacon’s Rebellion)

Summarize the authors: “Of the states in our analyses, in-person learning rates are highest in Florida and Wyoming, and lowest in Minnesota and Virginia. Virginia and Colorado also have the highest share of district-time spent in virtual learning.”

They continued: “Our analysis finds a decline in pass rates from the 2018-19 school year to the 2020-21 school year in all states. The decline ranges from -31.9 percentage points (Virginia, math) to -2.3 percentage points (Wyoming, ELA).” Note: ELA = English Language Arts.

“In most cases,” states the study, “the test score declines in the pandemic year are larger in the districts with less in-person instruction. This difference is largest in Virginia.”

Needless to say, the negative impact was most severe for Black and Hispanic students. “Among districts with a larger share of Black and Hispanic students, districts with less in-person schooling saw a greater decline in ELA test scores than those with more in-person learning.”