Highlighting Student Research: Making Up the Gap
This is part of a short series highlighting student research that was presented at the University of Findlay’s 2023 Symposium for Scholarship and Creativity (SSC).
Friday, March 13, 2020, is an important day in history, as it was the day President Trump declared a national emergency due to COVID-19. As a result, schools across the country shut down. Suddenly, students were learning strictly online, and without the support of educators. After months without in-person learning, students went on summer break, creating an educational gap.
“We wanted to know if there was a loss in students’ education, but also in emotional support,” said freshman education major, Mason Tuttle. Tuttle started his research with the mindset that there was a small change in students, but never expected the “massive changes” that teachers were providing in their feedback.
Despite educational setbacks due to the COVID-19 shutdowns, Tuttle and his team found some of the most drastic setbacks came in the form of emotional support and development. “We learned that there seems to have been a large change in students’ emotionally, especially in ways because they may not have had the support that students get at school from teachers and staff,” said Tuttle.
Studies have shown that many schools were not prepared for fully remote learning, leading to children learning less. Those students in high-poverty areas seemed to have suffered the most, while those students with more resources (technological and personal tutoring) fared better. The effects of the COVID gap in education are still being felt, and there is no estimate as to when all students could be caught up.
Tuttle and his team enjoyed presenting their research to the public, as it helped to shine a light on the difficulties students and teachers are facing. “I think some people feel educators have an easy job. While it may be true in some cases, it is not always true, and like other jobs, COVID has made it much harder,” said Tuttle.