Research and Efficacy

Research on Unfinished Learning

How Did the Pandemic Affect Student Learning in 2020–2021?

Our research on what some call “learning loss” and others call “unfinished teaching and learning” over the last year has sought to shed insight into the impact of educational disruptions and school closures on student academic progress. The educational disruptions due to COVID-19 raised new questions about how students are learning—whether remotely, in person, or in a hybrid situation—and whether that learning environment impacted academic progress. Leveraging i-Ready Diagnostic assessment data from more than a quarter of the nation’s students in Grades K–8, our Research team has analyzed results in Reading and Mathematics from the fall, winter, and spring assessments in the 2020–2021 school year.

While students made notable progress in a very disruptive year, there is still ground to make up, and our nation is falling short of the goal to achieve equitable outcomes for all students. Nationwide, the largest amount of unfinished learning is in early elementary grades, the needs in Mathematics are greater than in Reading, and students from historically marginalized communities experienced larger amounts of unfinished learning.

Featured Research

Academic Achievement at the End of the 2020–2021 School Year: Insights after More Than a Year of Disrupted Teaching and Learning

Our research shows that the students who are most affected by the pandemic are students in elementary school, students attending schools that serve a higher proportion of Black and Latino students, and students attending schools in lower-income zip codes. The spring analysis confirms what we saw emerge in winter: more students have unfinished learning and fewer students are on grade level this school year than in prior school years in both Reading and Mathematics.


Recent Research

Unfinished Learning Findings paper cover.

What We’ve Learned about Unfinished Learning: Insights from Midyear Diagnostic Assessments

This research brief discusses findings from winter i-Ready data this year compared to previous years and sheds light on the severity of unfinished learning.


Cover of the Understanding Students Needs research paper.

Understanding Student Needs: Early Results from Fall Assessments

An in-depth look at results from fall i-Ready Assessment taken in school. While more students started the school year below grade level, the differences are not as dire as many predicted. 


Executive summary about COVID’s impact on learning.

The Effects of COVID on Learning: Remote Testing Raises Questions

After analyzing the differences between remote and in-school testing, we found that students testing remotely tended to perform better than students testing in school, raising important questions about remote testing. 


Your Local Curriculum Associates Contact

VA-Shenique Mens-Smith
Your Local Curriculum Associates Contact