As the new school year gets into full swing, educators are likely to shift their focus from worrying about the depth of learning loss for students as a group, and begin zeroing in on where individual students are at. Nevertheless, looking at the differences in learning lost between two different groups of students, one from Sweden and one from England, may shed light on how best to help students with dyslexia in the United States move forward.
Sweden and England had quite different approaches to education during the pandemic. Sweden, for the most part, did not close its schools. England, on the other hand, responded to the pandemic much as the U.S. did, closing school buildings and pivoting to remote learning.
When researchers at my company, Lexplore, compared the fall 2019 and spring 2021 assessment results of more than 57,000 Swedish students in grades 2 to 6, they found that students in 2021 were, on average, 10 percentile points, or seven to eight months, behind the 2019 students in reading ability. The drop affected both struggling and proficient readers, and was most pronounced among middle school students.
In England, students were only behind an average of 5 percentile points, or about four months. In England, however, the drop was more pronounced among struggling readers.