Governments have implemented school closures and online learning as one of the main tools to reduce the spread of Covid-19. Despite the potential benefits in terms of containment of virus diffusion, the educational costs of these policies may be dramatic. This work identifies these costs, expressed as decrease in test scores, for the whole universe of Italian students attending the 5th, 8th and 13th grade of the school cycle during the 2021/22 school year. The analysis is based on a difference-in-difference model in relative time, where the control group is the closest generation before the Covid-19 pandemic. Results suggest a national average loss between 1.8-4.0% in Mathematics and Italian test scores. After collecting the precise number of school closure days for the universe of students in Sicily, this work also estimates that the average days of closure decrease the test score by 2.4%. In this context, parents appear to have a partial compensatory effect, but only when holding higher levels of education and when their children are attending low and middle schools. This is likely explained by the lower relevance of parental inputs and higher reliance on other inputs, such as peers, for the higher grades. Finally, the effects are also heterogeneous across class size, parents' country of birth and job conditions, pointing towards potential growing inequalities driven by the lack of frontal teaching.

Battisti, M., Maggio, G. (2023). Will the last be the first? School closures and educational outcomes. EUROPEAN ECONOMIC REVIEW, 154 [10.1016/j.euroecorev.2023.104405].

Will the last be the first? School closures and educational outcomes

Battisti, Michele
;
Maggio, Giuseppe
2023-05-01

Abstract

Governments have implemented school closures and online learning as one of the main tools to reduce the spread of Covid-19. Despite the potential benefits in terms of containment of virus diffusion, the educational costs of these policies may be dramatic. This work identifies these costs, expressed as decrease in test scores, for the whole universe of Italian students attending the 5th, 8th and 13th grade of the school cycle during the 2021/22 school year. The analysis is based on a difference-in-difference model in relative time, where the control group is the closest generation before the Covid-19 pandemic. Results suggest a national average loss between 1.8-4.0% in Mathematics and Italian test scores. After collecting the precise number of school closure days for the universe of students in Sicily, this work also estimates that the average days of closure decrease the test score by 2.4%. In this context, parents appear to have a partial compensatory effect, but only when holding higher levels of education and when their children are attending low and middle schools. This is likely explained by the lower relevance of parental inputs and higher reliance on other inputs, such as peers, for the higher grades. Finally, the effects are also heterogeneous across class size, parents' country of birth and job conditions, pointing towards potential growing inequalities driven by the lack of frontal teaching.
mag-2023
Battisti, M., Maggio, G. (2023). Will the last be the first? School closures and educational outcomes. EUROPEAN ECONOMIC REVIEW, 154 [10.1016/j.euroecorev.2023.104405].
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/10447/595395
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