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New Data Suggest Pandemic May Not Just Be Leaving Low-Income Students Behind; It May Be Propelling Wealthier Ones Even Further Ahead

The pandemic may be exacerbating achievement gaps not only by leaving some students behind but also by propelling more privileged children even farther ahead academically, new data suggest.

Participation and mastery rates in Zearn Math, an online math program for students in kindergarten through fifth grade, offer a glimpse into the crisis: When schools shut down in mid-March, participation and progress dropped off for students from low- and middle-income communities but rose to levels higher than before the shutdown for those from high-income areas. Still, the numbers also show some communities overcame the barriers, keeping engagement strong for all students regardless of income.

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