Blog

Your Education Road Map

Politics K-12®

ESSA. Congress. State chiefs. School spending. Elections. Education Week reporters keep watch on education policy and politics in the nation’s capital and in the states. Read more from this blog.

Federal

Education Department Details New Survey to Explore COVID-19’s Effects on Students

By Evie Blad — February 05, 2021 2 min read
Image of coronavirus and data.
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

A first-of-its-kind federal data collection will provide monthly updates on how many students are attending school in-person and other indicators related to education during the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. Department of Education announced Friday.

The survey results will be reported monthly and later analyzed alongside students’ scores on the 2022 National Assessment of Educational Progress to track the academic effects of the pandemic, the agency said.

The data collection, made in response to an executive order from President Joe Biden, will also help track his goal of reopening “a majority of K-8 schools” within the first 100 days of his administration.

See Also

Public School 95 in the Gravesend section of Brooklyn is one of many schools in New York ordered to close due to a flare-up of coronavirus cases in the area on Oct. 5, 2020.
Public School 95 in the Gravesend section of Brooklyn is one of many schools in New York ordered to close due to a flare-up of coronavirus cases in the area on Oct. 5, 2020.
Kathy Willens/AP
Federal Biden Launches New Strategy to Combat COVID-19, Reopen Schools
Evie Blad, January 21, 2021
5 min read

Notably, the data will not be pulled from every school in the country, and it is not likely to include many high schools. Rather the survey will collect “high-quality data from a nationally and state-representative sample” of 3,500 schools that enroll 4th-graders and 3,500 schools that enroll 8th-graders, the agency said in a news release.

“President Biden is committed to the safe reopening of schools and to addressing the educational disparities and inequities that the pandemic has exposed and exacerbated,” said a statement from Ian Rosenblum, acting assistant secretary of the 0ffice of elementary and secondary education. “To do that, we need more information about how students are learning during this pandemic — and we simply don’t have it right now.”

Private organizations and and academic researchers who’ve collected data on the pandemic’s effects on schools have identified a lack of an official federal survey on the issue as a key shortcoming. The data can be used to track the effectiveness of local efforts and to target resources to deal with the fallout from the crisis for years to come, they’ve said.

Former U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos said in October that she didn’t believe it was her agency’s role to collect such data, which some education groups called “a missed opportunity.”

School administrators have stressed that any new data collection shouldn’t be too cumbersome and that the results should have a known purpose, like directing new resources to support students.

The data collection will not be as extensive as some had hoped. A summary of included data points released by the Education Department notably does not include school-linked cases of COVID-19, for example.

Among the data the survey will collect:

  • Whether schools are open with full-time in-person instruction, with a hybrid of online and in-person instruction, or fully remote.
  • Enrollment by instructional mode by race and ethnicity, socioeconomic status, English-learner status, and disability status.
  • Attendance rates by instructional mode by race and ethnicity, socioeconomic status, English-learner status, disability status, and housing status.
  • Frequency of in-person learning for students in a given school.
  • Average number of hours of synchronous instruction for students in remote instruction.
  • Student groups prioritized by schools for in-person instruction. For example, some schools have sought to return the youngest students and those with disabilities for in-person instruction first.

The data will be reported monthly using the existing infrastructure from the NAEP data collection starting this month, the Education Department said, and it plans to report “key findings” to the public.

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Data Webinar
Education Insights with Actionable Data to Create More Personalized Engagement
The world has changed during this time of pandemic learning, and there is a new challenge faced in education regarding how we effectively utilize the data now available to educators and leaders. In this session
Content provided by Microsoft
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
School & District Management Webinar
Accelerate Learning with Project-Based Learning
Earlier this year, the George Lucas Educational Foundation released four new studies highlighting how project-based learning (PBL) helps accelerate student learning—across age groups, multiple disciplines, and different socio-economic statuses. With this year’s emphasis on unfinished
Content provided by SmartLab Learning
School & District Management Live Online Discussion Principal Overload: How to Manage Anxiety, Stress, and Tough Decisions
According to recent surveys, more than 40 percent of principals are considering leaving their jobs. With the pandemic, running a school building has become even more complicated, and principals' workloads continue to grow. If we

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Federal Is the Justice Dept. Silencing Parents or Stepping Up to Protect Educators?
Merrick Garland's move to use the FBI to help protect school officials from violence and harassment has drawn anger and praise.
5 min read
Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., speaks during the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing to examine Texas's abortion law, Wednesday, Sept. 29, 2021 on Capitol Hill in Washington.
Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., speaks during the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing to examine Texas's abortion law, Wednesday, Sept. 29, 2021 on Capitol Hill in Washington.
Tom Williams/Pool via AP
Federal Don't Use Federal COVID Aid to Undermine School Mask Rules, U.S. Treasury Tells Governor
Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey violated the intent of COVID aid programs by using them to discourage school mask mandates, an agency letter says.
2 min read
Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey speaks at the Arizona Capitol in Phoenix on Nov. 30, 2020. A program announced by Arizona's Republican governor last month to give private school vouchers to students whose parents object to school mask requirements has seen a surge of applications, with twice as many either completed or started than can be funded with the $10 million in federal coronavirus relief cash he earmarked for the program.
A program announced by Arizona's Republican Gov. Doug Ducey in September earmarks federal money to give private school vouchers to students whose parents object to public school mask requirements.
Ross D. Franklin/AP
Federal Districts Would Have to Show Equity for High-Poverty Schools Under Proposed Biden Rule
The U.S. Department of Education says the move would promote transparency and accountability for schools getting COVID-19 aid.
4 min read
Illustration of a helping hand with dollar bill bridging economy gap during coronavirus pandemic, assisting business people to overcome financial difficulties.
Feodora Chiosea/iStock/Getty Images Plus
Federal Justice Department Says FBI Will Address Violent Threats Against School Leaders
The Biden administration's response comes several days after a request by a school boards group for federal intervention.
4 min read
Attorney General nominee Judge Merrick Garland speaks during an event with President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris at The Queen Theater in Wilmington, Del., on Jan. 7, 2021.
Attorney General Merrick Garland said "threats against public servants ... run counter to our nation's values."
Susan Walsh/AP