Research report

Understanding the initial educational impacts of COVID-19 on communities of color

June 2021

By: Megan Kuhfeld, Erik Ruzek, Karyn Lewis, James Soland, Angela Johnson, Beth Tarasawa, Lindsay Dworkin


This report examines the academic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) students, with the goal of documenting achievement trends to provide leaders and policymakers with evidence to guide action to address educational inequities for BIPOC students. Using math and reading test data from 2.1 million BIPOC students in grades 3 to 8, we found that students’ math achievement was significantly impacted in fall 2020, while reading achievement was mostly parallel to prior years, and that the rate of learning during the pandemic was lower from fall 2019 to fall 2020 than during the pre-pandemic period.

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