About the Project

Tom Kane at the Center for Education Policy Research at Harvard and Sean Reardon at Stanford’s Educational Opportunity Project have collaborated to provide the first opportunity to compare learning loss and ensuing recovery at the district level across the country. Last year, we and others reported that by the time all states returned to regular testing in the Spring of 2022, the average student in grades 3 through 8 had lost the equivalent of half a grade level in math achievement and a third of a grade level in reading achievement. In this latest report, we describe the first full year of post-pandemic recovery, between the Spring of 2022 and the Spring of 2023. 2023 Report

Without this research, many parents and policymakers have no way to know how the national trends have touched their students. According to Learning Heroes, over 90% of parents still think their child is at or above grade level. Our hope is that these resources will prompt local communities to plan more ambitious catch-up efforts before the federal pandemic relief aid expires. The interactive maps and corresponding data you will find on this site also provide insight on time spent in remote instruction, federal ESSER allocations and instructional spending per student. When available, achievement data are disaggregated by race and poverty status to provide a complete picture of the disparities in learning loss across the country.


In the latest report, the researchers used test score results from roughly 8,000 school districts in 30 states to measure the extent to which test scores changed from Spring 2019 to Spring 2022 and from Spring 2022 to Spring 2023. Then the researchers used the methods developed by Reardon and colleagues to put the test scores from each state’s tests onto a common scale and to convert proficiency rates to “grade levels” of achievement (Reardon, Kalogrides, & Ho, 2021; Reardon, Shear, Castellano, & Ho, 2017). This allows us to measure changes in test scores between 2019 and 2023 on a common, interpretable scale for all school districts in these 30 states, despite the fact that they use different tests and proficiency thresholds.

Using these detailed data, the researchers report 1) the extent of academic recovery for each of the 30 states; 2) the extent to which the 2019-2022 losses and 2022-2023 improvements varied across school districts; and 3) how these patterns varied by district poverty rates and by student racial and economic background.

More detail on the methods used are available here: 2023 Report

92 %

of parents believe their child is at or above grade level

33 %

of 4th graders are proficient in Reading

31 %

of 8th graders are proficient in Reading

37 %

of 4th graders are proficient in Math

26 %

of 8th graders are proficient in Math

Project Leaders

Thomas Kane

Walter H. Gale Professor of Education and Economics

Thomas Kane is an economist and Walter H. Gale Professor of Education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. He is faculty director of the Center for Education Policy Research, a university-wide research center that works with school districts and state agencies. Between 2009 and 2012, he directed the Measures of Effective Teaching project for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. His work has spanned both K-12 and higher education, covering topics such as the design of school accountability systems, teacher recruitment and retention, financial aid for college, race-conscious college admissions and the earnings impacts of community colleges. From 1995 to 1996, Kane served as the senior economist for labor, education, and welfare policy issues within President Clinton’s Council of Economic Advisers. From 1991 through 2000, he was a faculty member at the Kennedy School of Government. Kane has also been a professor of public policy at UCLA and has held visiting fellowships at the Brookings Institution and the Hoover Institution at Stanford University.

Sean Reardon

Professor of Poverty and Inequality in Education

Seam Reardon is the endowed Professor of Poverty and Inequality in Education and Professor (by courtesy) of Sociology at Stanford University. His research focuses on the causes, patterns, trends, and consequences of social and educational inequality, the effects of educational policy on educational and social inequality, and in applied statistical methods for educational research. He particularly studies issues of residential and school segregation, and of racial/ethnic and socioeconomic disparities in academic achievement and educational success. His work develops methods of measuring social and educational inequality (including the measurement of segregation and achievement gaps) and methods of causal inference in educational and social science research. Professor Reardon is the director of the Educational Opportunity Project (EOP) and the developer of the Stanford Education Data Archive (SEDA), a database of roughly 500 million 3-8th grade standardized test scores that provides measures of educational opportunity for nearly every public school, district, county, and state in the US. He received his doctorate in education in 1997 from Harvard University and is a member of the National Academy of Education and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He is also an Andrew Carnegie Fellow and the recipient of the William T. Grant Foundation Scholar Award and the National Academy of Education Postdoctoral Fellowship.

The Team

Victoria Carbonari

Research Analyst, Center for Education Policy Research at Harvard University

Maria Victoria Carbonari is a research analyst at the Center for Education Policy Research at Harvard University. She holds a B.S. in economics from the University of Buenos Aires and an M.S. in economics from the University Torcuato Di Tella.

Daniel Dewey

Research Analyst, Center for Education Policy Research at Harvard University

Daniel Dewey is a research analyst at the Center for Education Policy Research at Harvard University. He holds a M.A. in Applied Economics and B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Northeastern University.

Erin Fahle

Research Scientist, NWEA; Co-Director, Educational Opportunity Project at Stanford University

Erin’s research explores how social and school context affects gender, racial/ethnic, and socioeconomic inequalities in student’s access to educational opportunities and subsequent achievement. Dr. Fahle’s goal is to help states, districts, and schools identify areas for policy and practice interventions that can improve the educational circumstances of children across the U.S. She believes deeply that this work must be done in partnership with school leaders and is committed to designing research that reflects their perspectives. Her work has been published in Educational Researcher and the American Educational Research Journal and featured in media outlets including the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and NPR. Dr. Fahle holds a Ph.D. in Education Policy from Stanford University, as well as a B.S. in Mathematics (2008) and a M.S. in Applied Mathematics and Statistics (2009) from Georgetown University.

Andrew Ho

Charles William Eliot Professor of Education, Harvard Graduate School of Education

Andrew Ho is a Professor of Education at Harvard Graduate School of Education and psychometrician whose research aims to improve the design, use, and interpretation of test scores in educational policy and practice. Dr. Ho is known for his research documenting the misuse of proficiency-based statistics in state and federal policy analysis. He has also clarified properties of student growth models for both technical and general audiences. His scholarship advocates for designing evaluative metrics to achieve multiple criteria: metrics must be accurate, but also transparent to target audiences and resistant to inflation under perverse incentives. Dr. Ho is a member of the National Assessment Governing Board that sets policy for the National Assessment of Educational Progress. He holds his Ph.D. in Educational Psychology and his M.S. in Statistics from Stanford University.

Demetra Kalogrides

Research Associate, Stanford Center for Education Policy Analysis (CEPA)

Demetra Kalogrides collaborates on research with Professor Sean Reardon and works on the creation and analysis of the data in the Stanford Education Data Archive (SEDA). She received a B.A. in Sociology from Santa Clara University and a M.A. and Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of California at Davis.

Dean Kaplan

Research Analyst, Center for Education Policy Research at Harvard University

Dean Kaplan is a research analyst at CEPR. Dean earned their Ed.M. from Harvard University, where they focused on data analytics and racial equity coursework, and their B.S. from the University of Maryland in elementary education.

Julia Paris

Research Assistant, Brookings Institution

Julia Paris is a Research Assistant at the Brookings Institution. She holds an M.A. in Public Policy and a B.A. in Economics from Stanford University.

Thalia Ramirez

Operations Manager, Educational Opportunity Project (EOP) at Stanford University

Thalia Ramirez is the operations manager for the Educational Opportunity Project (EOP). She received a B.A. in Neuroscience with a minor in Teaching and Learning Studies from Wellesley College.

Sadie Richardson

Ph.D. student, Stanford Graduate School of Education

Sadie Richardson is a Ph.D. student at the Stanford Graduate School of Education. She received a B.A. from Rice University with a double major in Cognitive Sciences and Statistics.

Jim Saliba

Research Data Analyst, Educational Opportunity Project (EOP) at Stanford University

Jim Saliba is a research data analyst for the Educational Opportunity Project (EOP). Jim received a B.A. in Drama from Stanford University and M.A. in Sociology from the University of Minnesota, where they are completing their dissertation.

Lisa Sanbonmatsu

Director of Research, Center for Education Policy Research at Harvard University

Lisa Sanbonmatsu is Director of Research at CEPR overseeing multiple projects. Prior to joining CEPR, Lisa was a senior researcher on the Moving to Opportunity project at the National Bureau of Economic Research, where she evaluated large randomized experiments and examined factors affecting the mental health, physical health, education, and economic outcomes of low-income families and their children. Lisa holds a Ph.D. in public policy from Harvard University.

Benjamin Shear

Assistant Professor, University of Colorado Boulder

Ben Shear is an Assistant Professor in the Research and Evaluation Methodology program at the University of Colorado Boulder, College of Education. His primary research interests address topics in psychometrics and applied statistics, including validity theory, differential item functioning, and the application of diagnostic classification models. His research in applied statistics seeks to improve the use of quantitative methods by education researchers measuring student learning, evaluating education policies, or studying inequality. He holds his Ph.D. in Development and Psychological Sciences from Stanford University and his M.A. in Measurement, Evaluation, and Research Methodology from the University of British Columbia.

Douglas Staiger

Professor of Economics Dartmouth College

Douglas Staiger is the John Sloan Dickey Third Century Professor in the Department of Economics at Dartmouth. Before joining Dartmouth in 1998, he was a faculty member at Stanford and Harvard. Dr. Staiger is a member of the National Academy of Medicine, a Research Associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and an Affiliate of the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) at MIT. He was the recipient of the Arrow Award for the best paper in health economics in 2007, and the Eugene Garfield Economic Impact of Medical and Health Research Award in 2008. Dr. Staiger is a co-founder, with John Birkmeyer and Justin Dimick, of ArborMetrix, a healthcare analytics company. He is currently an Associate Editor of the Review of Economics and Statistics. Dr. Staiger received his BA from Williams College in 1984 and his PhD in economics from MIT in 1990.

Dr. Staiger’s research interests include the economics of education, economics of healthcare, and statistical methods. His work has been published in both top economics journals (including the American Economic Review, Econometrica, Journal of Political Economy, and Quarterly Journal of Economics) and top medical journals (including JAMA, and the New England Journal of Medicine). In the field of education, his current research investigates school and teacher effectiveness in elementary and secondary education, and has been funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the U.S. Department of Education Institute of Education Sciences. In the field of healthcare, his current research investigates the quality of care in hospitals and labor markets for nurses and physicians, and has been funded by the National Institute of Health and the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation.

Rachel Tropp

Communication Coordinator, Center for Education Policy Research

Rachel Tropp is the communications coordinator at CEPR. Rachel received her AB in government from Harvard College with a secondary in educational studies.

Funder Info

The Education Recovery Scorecard receives philanthropic support from Citadel founder and CEO Ken Griffin and Griffin Catalyst, Bloomberg Philanthropies, and Carnegie Corporation of New York.

The Stanford Education Data Archive (SEDA) is based on research funded in part by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Some of the data used in constructing the SEDA files were provided by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). The findings and opinions expressed in the research reported here are those of the authors and do not represent views of NCES or the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.