Discussing the impact of COVID-19 on students

Recent test scores plummet compared to pre-pandemic scores in 2019

Ali Smith, Arts & Leisure Editor

After nearly two years of masks, mandates and illness, we are approaching the road home to recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Although the COVID-19 virus is still at large, schools, businesses and states, just like Gannon, are making masking optional.

As someone who is fully boosted, young and healthy, I have been waiting for this day of freedom, which was delivered on Feb. 23 from Doug Oathout, marketing and communications director, in a COVID-19 update.

While COVID-19 is still an issue, we are left with the daunting fear surrounding the aftermath of the pandemic.

In an article published Saturday by the Erie Times-News, reporter Valerie Myers wrote about how student test scores plummeted in 2021.

This shows drastic differences to that of 2019, the last pre-pandemic year.

Myers attributed this to remote learning and COVID-19 restrictions, but also acknowledged that far more than the pandemic itself can contribute to the drop in scores.

These factors include remote learning and less students actually taking the test to produce an accurate summary of student learning for the 2021 school year.

As a teacher candidate, I have also observed in classrooms that students no longer take notes by hand in notebooks most of the time.

In fact, some of them don’t even own a notebook at all.

This could be due in part to interrupted instruction all of us were unprepared for in March 2020 as COVID-19 took the world by storm and forced kids to learn remotely.

As a result, students at foundational ages never learned to take notes, as teachers had to find new methods of delivering instruction in a way that ensured all students would have the opportunity to be successful.

Most college courses, at least at Gannon, are lecture-based, dependent on student self-teaching and note-taking and study skills.

Because of this, these realities concern me as a future educator who is going to have to prepare students for higher education, the military or the workforce.

Some college students have shifted to taking notes on a device, which for some is effective.

However, some school districts don’t have the means to provide a device for each individual student.

This means that students can be missing out essential knowledge and skills that only can be acquired through the mode of taking notes and physically writing ideas out.

I only graduated in 2019, and my 10th grade English teacher taught me that if you can remember it, write it in red pen and you will.

Perhaps I am stuck in my ways and unconvinced of the benefits of this new way of learning beginning to come out of the pandemic education process.

This is just because I could not imagine my K-12 career without a notebook, and I don’t think I would survive college without my rigorous note-taking abilities.

I am anxious to see how this changes the future of K-12 and higher education, as I will be forever wrapped up in both as a teacher.

Will test scores improve as in-person learning resumes, or will skills missed during the lockdown era affect the trajectory of knowledge for years to come?

I am hopeful for life as we emerge from the dark veil of COVID-19, but I am worried about how it will affect us in the short-term and also in the long run — and education is just one example.


[email protected]