My Child is No Longer Motivated

What Students Are Saying About ‘Learning Loss’ During the Pandemic

We invited teenagers to weigh in on a current debate in education. They supplied some important nuance.

Credit…John Moore/Getty Images

Please note: This post is part of The Learning Network’s ongoing Current Events Conversation feature in which we invite students to react to the news via our daily writing prompts and publish a selection of their comments each week.


In the article “Does It Hurt Children to Measure Pandemic Learning Loss?,” Dana Goldstein explores the debate among educators about how to measure learning gaps experienced during the pandemic — if we should measure them at all, that is.

As we regularly do when The Times reports on an issue that touches the lives of teenagers, we used our daily Student Opinion forum to ask teenagers to share their perspectives. Did they experience “learning loss,” and, if so, how? Should testing happen this school year? What are the best courses of action to help struggling students?

Below, the most common themes among the nearly 300 comments. Most students acknowledged that it takes extra effort to stay focused and motivated during online learning, yet many have adjusted to the new way of doing things. Others expressed worry that not all of their peers have the same opportunities. But they also talked about what they have learned this year, including technology skills, global awareness and resilience. As Taia from Chicago wrote, “How can anything being taught in outdated textbooks ever compare to the real-world experiences we as students have gained in 2020-2021?”

Thank you to all those who joined the conversation this week, including teenagers from Maplewood, Minn.; Chicago; New York City and many more places.

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