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Distance and Disruption: Listening to Massachusetts Students During COVID-19

Understand how COVID-19 and remote learning has affected high school students' educational experience in Massachusetts.

One of the most enduring effects of the COVID-19 pandemic is its impact on K-12 students. With most students in the U.S. learning in either fully remote or hybrid classrooms, the sudden transition has raised many challenges for students, teachers, parents and administrators.

The Barr Foundation commissioned Gallup to survey 1,000 students aged 14 to 18 in Massachusetts high schools from November 18 to December 9, 2020, to understand the impact of COVID-19 on students' education. The study explores important issues such as:

  • Do students' perceptions of their educational experience differ by learning arrangement?
  • Do those differences persist after considering other factors, such as income and race/ethnicity?
  • Which aspects of the learning process do students think differ most for the various learning arrangements?
  • Which, if any, learning environments are more likely to generate negative emotions for students?
  • What are the challenges with learning remotely, particularly for disadvantaged students?
Report cover for Distance and Disruption: Listening to Massachusetts Students During COVID-19

50%
of all students in the study say they prefer full-time in-person learning at school.

36%
of full-time remote learners feel they are falling behind this year.

57%
of those in households with annual incomes under $60,000 are remote-learning exclusively.

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