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 view of district-level losses between 2019 and 2022. Many states have reported results on Spring 2022 assessments, but because each state sets its own proficiency levels, it’s not possible to compare changes in proficiency rates on different states’ tests. We use the 2022 NAEP scores to put the state proficiency levels on the same scale, and then report comparable declines by district and subgroup across the country.
Until now, many parents and policymakers have had 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, using the $190 billion in federal pandemic relief aid. 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.
Although many states have released their 2022 grade 3-8 test results for each of their school districts, the proficiency score thresholds that most states release are not optimal for all purposes and are difficult to compare across states. To remedy this, we use methods developed by the Educational Opportunity Project at Stanford University to combine two sources of information to measure academic achievement on a common scale across school districts in different states. State assessments given to students in grades 3-8 enable us to compare achievement between districts in the same state and year; the 2019 and 2022 NAEP test results allow us to compare achievement between states and across years. By combining information on how high a districts’ average test scores are relative to those in their state in a given year (using state assessment data) and information on how high a states’ average test scores are relative to the 2019 national average (using NAEP assessment results) we can make valid comparisons between districts in different states and over the 2019-2022 period. Moreover, we use data from NAEP to calibrate differences in test scores relative to the amount a typical child’s scores during a grade; using this calibration, we can measures changes in test scores between 2019 and 2022 (and between different districts) in terms of grade-level equivalents, a metric accessible to broad audiences. More detail on the methods we use are available here: https://edopportunity.org/methods/.
The work and data used in this project are the result of a collaboration between the Center for Education Policy Research at Harvard University and the Educational Opportunity Project at Stanford University. The following partners contributed data and expertise that allowed construction of the data files and the analysis presented here:
- The American Enterprise Institute for data on remote learning during 2020-21 from their Return to Learn tracker.
- SchoolDigger for Spring 2022 assessment results.
- The National Center for Education Statistics both for the National Assessment of Educational Progress and data on instructional expenditures, enrollment and federal subsidized lunch receipt.
- Dartmouth College for Professor Douglas Staiger’s time and expertise.
- The Edunomics Lab at Georgetown University for the data on American Rescue Plan allocations to districts.
- The COVID-19 School Data Hub for data on remote learning for districts where Return to Learn Tracker data were unavailable.
- NWEA for collaboration on research on COVID catch-up efforts and for Dr. Erin Fahle’s time and expertise.
of parents believe their child is at or above grade level
of 4th graders are proficient in Reading
of 8th graders are proficient in Reading
of 4th graders are proficient in Math
of 8th graders are proficient in Math
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.
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.
Communications Manager, Center for Education Policy Research at Harvard University
Lindsay Blauvelt is the publications coordinator at CEPR. Prior to joining the organization, she worked as a project manager at Yale School of Medicine where she coordinated communications and reporting for the school’s endowed and current-use funds.
Additionally, Lindsay has worked across a variety of sectors including nonprofits, grassroots environmental campaigns, and research institutes in a communications capacity. Lindsay received her BA in journalism from Loyola University of Chicago with a minor in peace studies.
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.
Research Assistant, 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.
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.
Executive Director, Center for Education Policy Research at Harvard University
Jon Fullerton is the executive director of CEPR. Jon has extensive experience working with policymakers and executives in designing and implementing organizational change and improvements. Before coming to Harvard, Jon served as the Board of Education’s director of budget and financial policy for the Los Angeles Unified School District. In this capacity, he provided independent evaluations of district reforms and helped to ensure that the district’s budget was aligned with board priorities. From 2002 to 2005 he was vice-president of strategy, evaluation, research, and policy at the Urban Education Partnership in Los Angeles, where he worked with policymakers to ensure that they focused on high impact educational strategies. Jon previously worked for five years at McKinsey & Company as a strategy consultant. He has a PhD in government and an A.B. in social studies, both from Harvard.
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.
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.
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.
Research Analyst, Center for Education Policy Research at Harvard University
Tyler Patterson is a research analyst at the Center for Education Policy Research at Harvard University. He holds a B.S. in mathematics from the University of Chicago.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Education Recovery Scorecard is supported by funds from the Carnegie Corporation of New York, Kenneth C. Griffin and the Walton Family Foundation.
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.