Posted: September 19th, 2022

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children

Systematic Review

School Performance among Children and Adolescents during
COVID-19 Pandemic: A Systematic Review

Eleni Panagouli 1,† , Androniki Stavridou 1,† , Christina Savvidi 1, Anastasia Kourti 1 ,
Theodora Psaltopoulou 2, Theodoros N. Sergentanis 1,2 and Artemis Tsitsika 1,*

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Citation: Panagouli, E.; Stavridou,

A.; Savvidi, C.; Kourti, A.;

Psaltopoulou, T.; Sergentanis, T.N.;

Tsitsika, A. School Performance

among Children and Adolescents

during COVID-19 Pandemic: A

Systematic Review. Children 2021, 8,

1134. https://doi.org/10.3390/

children8121134

Academic Editor: Bin-Bin Chen

Received: 11 November 2021

Accepted: 24 November 2021

Published: 4 December 2021

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Attribution (CC BY) license (https://

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4.0/).

1 2nd Department of Pediatrics, “P. & A. Kyriakou” Children’s Hospital, School of Medicine,
National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, 11527 Athens, Greece; elenpana@med.uoa.gr (E.P.);
stavroniki@hotmail.com (A.S.); chrisavvidi@gmail.com (C.S.); anastasiakourti.ak@gmail.com (A.K.);
tsergentanis@yahoo.gr (T.N.S.)

2 Department of Clinical Therapeutics, “Alexandra” Hospital, School of Medicine, National and Kapodistrian
University of Athens, 11528 Athens, Greece; tpsaltop@med.uoa.gr

* Correspondence: info@youth-health.gr; Tel./Fax: +302107710824
† These authors contributed equally to this work.

Abstract: As a result of COVID-19 restrictions, conventional ways of schooling were not possible,
and in order to continue the educational process new digital resources, such as online learning
platforms, were imposed. Although virtual courses provided high-quality educational material, the
efficiency in children’s and adolescents’ academic performance in general is yet to be known. The
purpose of this systematic review is to examine whether the academic performance of school-aged
students was impacted or not through online learning and modified educational methods during the
ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. According to the studies, either students suffered from learning losses
comparing to pre-pandemic years or, in some cases, they benefited from online learning, especially
in mathematics. Younger students and students with neurodevelopmental disorders or special
education needs seemed to suffer more. Parents/caregivers reported that their children’s performance
deteriorated, while others thought that online learning was beneficial. Teachers also reported that
students presented academic gaps and difficulties in mathematics and reading compared to typical
years. Consequently, the new ways of schooling imposed by the restrictions have not been fully
tested and the impact cannot be described thoroughly. The investment in technological equipment in
schools for the majority of students, along with the training of teachers in digital competence, should
be a priority.

Keywords: academic performance; COVID-19 pandemic; students; school closure

1. Introduction

Since the spring of 2020 after the first outbreak of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, the COVID-19
pandemic has caused and continues to cause serious disturbances in daily life around the
world [1]. To counteract this public health emergency, a number of measures were imposed
globally, including home-confinement, social distancing, and school closures [2]. Among
restrictive measures, school closure has changed children’s and adolescents’ everyday
life, affecting their emotional resilience and mental health overall [3]. Pioneering this
decision was China, where a nationwide school closure was imposed during the prolonged
home-confinement period [4].

Due to restrictions, conventional ways of schooling were not possible and new ways
of schooling had to be proposed in order to maintain an everyday routine and not disrupt
the educational process. Homeschooling was a preferable means adopted by various
educational settings and countries around the world [5]. As a pedagogical method, home-
schooling has been well established since the 1970s in some countries such as the US, where

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Children 2021, 8, 1134 2 of 12

parents, relatives, or tutors provided basic education at home [6]. During that time, con-
cerns were raised regarding students’ assessments, school performance, and socialization,
as well as educational materials for students with special educational needs [6]. Students
need to feel that they act and learn in a safe environment where they are given instructions
about which learning strategies to follow or consultation about interpersonal relationships
that blossom in the school context [7].

During the ongoing pandemic, the homeschooling approach seemed to differ from one
country to another, using mainly virtual courses delivered through digital resources such as
online learning platforms [8]. A number of online learning resources were made available,
including recorded classes, tutorials, online conferences, and educational platforms that
offered online live interaction with teachers [9]. Teachers played a significant role in
providing educational materials and assessing students’ performance through online
exams and homework activities [8,10]. Homeschooling and online learning as altered
learning styles were used for the first time in such a global context as emergency remote
education, raising concerns about their efficiency. Inadequacies in education opportunities
were highlighted during the ongoing pandemic, where the socioeconomic status of parents
could not always provide the necessary means for online learning or the professional help
children may need [5,11]. Children with special educational needs or neurodevelopmental
disorders were at greater risk of presenting educational gaps due to lack of face-to-face
interaction with the teachers [12–19]. Moreover, the uncertain educational future impacted
students’ academic achievement, which can be enforced by a stressful life event, such as a
global pandemic [20].

Although online learning was an ideal setting through the lockdown period, its effi-
ciency in children’s and adolescents’ academic performance in general is yet to be known.
The purpose of this systematic review is to examine whether the academic performance of
school-aged students was impacted or not through online learning and modified educa-
tional methods during the ongoing COVID-19

pandemic.

2. Materials and Methods
2.1. Study Design

A recommended reference framework for systematic reviews was performed, follow-
ing the PRISMA guidelines for systematic reviews. The research was conducted in the
following databases: PubMed, Google Scholar, ERIC, SCOPUS, DOAJ, and PsycNet, up
to 18 July 2021. The algorithm used was the following: (COVID-19 OR SARS-CoV-19 OR
SARS-CoV-2 OR “2019-nCoV” OR “novel coronavirus”) AND (“school performance” OR
“academic performance” OR learning OR e-learning OR “distance learning” OR “school
closure” OR e-classes OR “school grades” OR “academic grades” OR “school notes” OR
“academic notes” OR “school attainment” OR “academic attainment” OR “educational
attainment”) AND (child OR children OR kid OR kids OR youngster OR youngsters OR
adolescent OR adolescents OR teen OR teens OR teenager OR teenagers).

  • References
  • of
    eligible studies and relevant reviews were searched using a snowballing technique.

    2.2. Inclusion Criteria

    All articles were considered eligible for this research if they examined school perfor-
    mance in school-aged children and adolescents during the COVID-19 pandemic based
    on evidence from student reports or students themselves. Kindergarten children were
    excluded. Additionally, due to homeschooling, as opposed to restrictive measures, studies
    involving parents’ observations were also collected in order to provide more data that were
    plausible. Furthermore, as teachers are the main evaluators of children’s and adolescents’
    performance, their observations were valuable and were also collected. Regarding study
    design, only case reports, cohort studies, cross-sectional studies, case series, and case-
    control studies were selected. There were no language restrictions. Two authors (A.S. and
    C.S.) worked independently in pairs to perform the selection of studies.

    Children 2021, 8, 1134 3 of 12

    2.3. Data Extraction and Analysis

    Three reviewers (A.S., C.S., and E.P.) reviewed the articles simultaneously and in-
    dependently through a piloted data extraction form. The following variables were used
    to extract data for each study: name and identity of the article, name of first author and
    year of publication, region/country where the survey was conducted, language, study
    period, study design, sample size, age range, and selection of sample, ascertainment and/or
    association with COVID-19 pandemic, outcomes, statistical analysis, and main findings.
    Any disagreement was resolved through reviewer discussion and team consensus.

    2.4. Quality Assessment

    The quality assessment was performed by two independent reviewers (A.S. and C.S.)
    during the screening process, evaluating the risk of bias in eligible studies through the
    Newcastle-Ottawa Scale for cross-sectional studies and cohort studies accordingly.

    3. Results
    3.1. Selection of Studies

    The research in databases retrieved 23,039 publications, from which 3515 were dupli-
    cates. After screening a total of 19,524 records by title, abstract, and full text, 42 of them
    were finally considered eligible [7,8,10–19,21–50] (Prisma Flow Chart—Figure 1).

    Children 2021, 8, x FOR PEER REVIEW 3 of 14

    2.3. Data Extraction and Analysis
    Three reviewers (A.S., C.S., and E.P.) reviewed the articles simultaneously and inde-

    pendently through a piloted data extraction form. The following variables were used to
    extract data for each study: name and identity of the article, name of first author and year
    of publication, region/country where the survey was conducted, language, study period,
    study design, sample size, age range, and selection of sample, ascertainment and/or asso-
    ciation with COVID-19 pandemic, outcomes, statistical analysis, and main findings. Any
    disagreement was resolved through reviewer discussion and team consensus.

    2.4. Quality Assessment
    The quality assessment was performed by two independent reviewers (A.S. and C.S.)

    during the screening process, evaluating the risk of bias in eligible studies through the
    Newcastle-Ottawa Scale for cross-sectional studies and cohort studies accordingly.

    3.

  • Results
  • 3.1. Selection of Studies

    The research in databases retrieved 23,039 publications, from which 3515 were du-
    plicates. After screening a total of 19,524 records by title, abstract, and full text, 42 of them
    were finally considered eligible [7,8,10–19,21–50] (Prisma Flow Chart—Figure 1).

    Figure 1. PRISMA flow chart.

    The demographic characteristics are summarized in Table 1. The majority of the stud-
    ies were conducted in Europe (n = 19 studies) [13,17–19,21–35], followed by Asia (n = 13
    studies) [7,8,10,11,15,16,36–41] and America (n = 7 studies) [12,14,42–47], while two stud-
    ies were conducted in Africa [48,49] and one in Oceania [50]. The performance of

    Figure 1. PRISMA flow chart.

    The demographic characteristics are summarized in Table 1. The majority of the
    studies were conducted in Europe (n = 19 studies) [13,17–19,21–35], followed by Asia (n = 13
    studies) [7,8,10,11,15,16,36–41] and America (n = 7 studies) [12,14,42–47], while two studies
    were conducted in Africa [48,49] and one in Oceania [50]. The performance of 15,385,942
    students was assessed. Furthermore, 143,511 teachers and 22,203 parents participated in
    19 studies in order to report their students’ and children’s performance, correspondingly.
    It should be pointed out that in one study the participants were 15 teachers and parents
    (half of them had double roles), without discriminating the exact number of teachers or
    parents [16]. Moreover, in one study 5832 schools participated without mentioning the total

    Children 2021, 8, 1134 4 of 12

    number of students [35]. Although the majority of the studies referred to students, the age
    range in most of them was unclear. In some studies where the subjects’ age was defined,
    the age range of the students was between 8 and 22 years old. Concerning the study design,
    17 of the studies were cross-sectional [7,8,12,14,15,17,18,25,26,28,31–34,36,40,41] and 13
    were cohort studies [19,21,23,24,27,29,30,37,38,45,46,49,50], while the rest were case studies
    (n = 5) [10,13,16,42,48] or mixed design studies (n = 5) [11,22,35,44,47]. One study was a
    qualitative description study [39] and one was a qualitative projection study [43] (Table S1).

    3.2. Students

    The new way of online learning as imposed by the school closure affected all aspects of
    students’ life. According to the studies, students either suffered from learning losses com-
    pared to pre-pandemic years [23,24,29,34,38,45,46,49,50] or, in some cases, they benefited
    from online learning [10,22,27,30,33,34,37,39,40,43]. More specifically, greater emphasis was
    given concerning academic performance in two sections, mathematics [10,29,34,43,46,50]
    and reading [29,43,46], with mixed results. Most of the students presented a significant
    decrease in mathematics scores compared to previous years [34,43,46,50], while a small
    number maintained their math performance [10] or even increased it, especially low-
    achieving students [26,29]. On the other hand, concerning mostly high-achieving students,
    they either maintained or gained reading skills [29,43,46]. Low-achievement students, who
    either presented improvements [7,30,37] or performed poorly, acquired greater changes
    in performance [25,34]. Younger students faced more difficulties during online learn-
    ing [23,33], however they presented more enthusiasm for learning materials because they
    were more creative and interactive [22]. Overall, 34% of younger and 21% of older pupils
    reported not learning many new things due to tasks being repetitive and simple [22].

    3.3. Parents/Caregivers

    During the lockdown, parents and caregivers played an important role in children’s
    education because classes were implemented online and mostly at home. Thus, parents or
    caregivers could monitor their children’s performance and voice concerns. Some of them
    reported that their children’s performance deteriorated [11,21,28,31,42], while others thought
    that online learning was beneficial due to unaffected contact with the teachers [32,36,41].
    Parents or caregivers believed that younger children could not discipline or self-regulate
    in order to attend online classes and do their homework [11] while parental support was
    present [22,33]. Many of them were concerned because they could not always provide the help
    needed by their children due to lack of experience with new technologies [11]. Socioeconomic
    inequalities played a significant role in access to online learning, affecting the performance of
    students of all grades, especially in low-income communities [24,26,46,49,50].

    3.4. Teachers

    The main role in evaluating children’s performance was occupied by teachers in all grades.
    The COVID-19 restrictions prohibited face-to-face interaction with the students, entering a
    new method of online learning. According to teachers, students presented academic gaps
    and difficulties in mathematics and reading compared to typical years [14,15]. The lack
    of in-person consultation, especially in science subjects, was believed to be an aggravating
    factor for students’ performance [48]. A significant number of students did not participate
    in online classes, mostly from non-privileged areas, increasing the drop out risk, as reported
    by teachers [15,45]. In addition, teachers raised concerns for students with special disabilities
    and non-native speakers [44]. The interactive and interesting material used in online classes
    increased the interest of younger students, while good communication between teachers and
    parents/caregivers could provide learning activities that were better in quality [8,10].

    Children 2021, 8, 1134 5 of 12

    Table 1. Description of studies examining school performance in children and adolescents.

    First Author (Year) Region, Country Selection of Sample Main Findings

    Amelia et al. (2020) [10] Cimahi, Indonesia
    Teachers (4) and students (6)

    from junior high school in
    Cimahi

    According to results, five out of six students scored above MCC (minimum completeness criteria), showing that
    e-learning did not disturb the learning of mathematics. Achievement and learning activities could be increased through

    good communication between teachers and students.

    Andrew et al. (2020) [21] UK Parents of children aged 4–15
    There was a decrease in hours engaged with learning activities in children, from 90% before lockdown to 60% during
    lockdown. Secondary school students presented the bigger decrease from 6.59 to 4.15 h. The majority of them spent

    around 2 to 4 h in learning activities, while a substantial minority (20%) spent less than 2 h.

    Bansal et al. (2020) [36] India Parents with children using
    remote learning

    Responders believed that remote learning was beneficial because it was safe (89.9%), helped with keeping in touch with
    teachers and classmates (61.6%), and with learning material (63.1%).

    Becker et al. (2020) [12] US
    Adolescents (118 with

    ADHD) from the 9th through
    11th grades and their parents

    During the COVID-19 pandemic, 72% of the adolescents spent 3 h or less on schoolwork on an average school day.
    Specifically, more difficulties and fewer routines were reported from adolescents with ADHD than those without.

    Adolescents with ADHD experienced more difficulty in concentrating and remote learning, higher negative affect, and
    fewer adolescent routines due to COVID-19.

    Bobo et al. (2020) [13] France Parents of children and
    adolescents with ADHD

    Children with ADHD struggled to complete school-related tasks as reported by their parents, with the role of inattention
    being one of the main factors in children’s learning difficulties.

    Bubb and Jones (2020) [22] Norway Parents, teachers, and pupils
    (6–16 years)

    The youngest pupils showed more enthusiasm in more creative tasks assigned by teachers during homeschooling. In
    total, 79% of younger pupils agreed that they had learned many new things, while 65% of older students agreed.

    However, a significant percentage of pupils (34% of younger students and 21% of older) reported not learning many new
    things because the tasks were repetitive and simple. In addition, 62% of older pupils stated that they had more

    homework, and they were more concentrated at home. Parental support enhanced pupils work at home and their
    independence concerning their tasks.

    Dong et al. (2020) [11] China Parents through
    Wenjuanxing platform

    The parents generally had negative beliefs regarding online learning and preferred learning in school, at least for
    younger ages. They believed that their children could not self-regulate and lacked discipline in doing their homework.
    Furthermore, the lack of professional knowledge in supporting their children during online learning was considered an
    aggravating factor. During the COVID-19 pandemic, only a small percentage of parents stated that online learning had
    better learning outcomes (11.0%) and generated improvement in several skills including language development (21.2%),

    literacy (25.2%), social skills (24.8%), independent skills (17.8%), arts (21.1%), and physical health (10.9%).

    Goodrich et al. (2020) [14] US Elementary school teachers

    According to the teachers, students presented larger academic gaps in the fall of 2020 when compared to typical years,
    with many of them not ready for transitioning to the next grade. Moreover, 73.9% and 69.7% of teachers indicated

    difficulties in reading and mathematics, respectively, which was larger than typical years. Similar findings reported by
    teachers for students with disabilities, where 58.5% of teachers confirmed achievement gaps larger than typical years.

    Kuhfeld et al. (2020) [43] US
    Seventh-grade students who

    took the MAP Growth
    assessments in 2017–2018

    Students attending school in fall 2020 were estimated to return with approximately 70% reading gains relative to a
    typical school year. However, in mathematics students’ estimation was smaller, fluctuating from 37% to 50% compared to
    a typical school year. Although those projections may not be universal, the majority of students were making gains in

    reading.
    Maldonado and De Witte

    (2020) [35] Belgium Schools in Flanders In 2020, students experienced significant learning losses in all subjects, while mathematics scores presented the biggest
    decrease in school averages (SD = 0.19) and Dutch scores (SD = 0.29) compared to previous years.

    Moghli and Shuayb (2020)
    [15]

    Jordan, Lebanon, and the
    Occupied West Bank and

    Gaza Strip

    Teachers (274), students
    (105), and parents (299)

    According to teachers, a significant rate of dropout was noted in non-formal schools, with 77% of the students not
    participating in distance learning. The majority of them were boys (70%), with more than half (53%) being children with

    special educational needs. In addition, 15% of students reported a decline in their academic performance.

    Children 2021, 8, 1134 6 of 12

    Table 1. Cont.

    First Author (Year) Region, Country Selection of Sample Main Findings

    Putri et al. (2020) [16] Indonesia
    Teachers and parents of two

    primary schools in Tangerang,
    Indonesia.

    Some of the challenges faced by students included the limitation of social contact and communication, and
    difficulties appeared in students with special educational needs and increased time in front of screens.

    Sintema (2020) [48] Zambia
    Teachers at a public secondary

    school in Chipata District of
    Eastern Province in Zambia

    According to the teachers’ views, the possibility of a decline in performance of secondary school students in
    national examination was likely to occur. The reduction of face-to-face interaction with the teachers was

    considered an aggravating factor due to lack of consultation from the teachers, especially in science subjects.

    Tomasik et al. (2020) [23] Switzerland Pupils from MINDSTEPS
    system (grade 3 to 9)

    In terms of learning gains, students in secondary school remained unaffected, while primary school students
    presented a decrease in learning.

    Zhang Qing et al. (2020) [7] China Middle school students
    There was a positive correlation between emotional and learning management skills (r = 0.498, p < 0.01). Learning management skills were predicted by positive emotional ability, while low- and high-scoring groups presented

    significant differences in learning management skills (t = –14.69, p < 0.001).

    Zhao Ying et al. (2020) [8] China Students (738), parents (1062),
    and teachers (210)

    According to teachers, online learning increased students’ interest, mostly in younger students. Furthermore, half
    of the teachers expressed that homeschooling would have a negative impact on academic performance of their

    students. Schooling in classrooms was considered a more preferable way of learning, as stated by both parents and
    teachers.

    Banerjee et al. (2021) [17] UK

    Parents of children and young
    people (CYP) with special

    educational needs and
    disabilities (SEND)

    A significant number of parents (n = 18) reported that their children and young people with special educational
    needs and disabilities were affected emotionally and academically by the COVID-19 pandemic.

    Baschenis et al. (2021) [18] Italy Students with and without
    dyslexia

    Children with dyslexia presented more difficulties in online classes and in reading, comprehension, and
    mathematics, as confirmed by their parents. More than half (59 to 63%) did not reach the expected goals of reading

    skills.

    Catalano et al. (2021) [44] NY, US
    K-12 teachers from New York

    State, largely from Long Island
    and New York City

    According to teachers, students failed to regularly complete their assignments (nearly 30%), with this being seen
    mostly in students from less privileged areas. Concerns were raised for educational outcomes in students with

    disabilities (SWDs) and English language learners (ELLs).

    Clark et al. (2021) [37] China
    Students who were in the last

    semester of their middle school
    education

    During lockdown, student academic results improved by 0.22 SD through online learning, especially for those
    students who received online lessons from experts rather than their own teachers. Students using computers
    presented better performance than those using smartphones for online classes. Although students with high

    performance maintained their performance throughout lockdown, those with low performance benefited more.

    Cui et al. (2021) [38] China Parent-child pairs of
    elementary school

    The majority of students performed poorly in online classes and their performance decrease was statistically
    significant as time lapsed (p = 0.047). Greater performance in online classes was presented by students in grade 1

    (23/46, 50%) and in grade 6 (13/31, 41.9%).

    Engzell et al. (2021) [24] Netherlands Students in grades 4–7
    A learning loss equal to 0.08 SD was revealed according to the results. That loss was higher in students with
    parents with low education levels (60%), enhancing the inequality among families and children during the

    pandemic.

    Gore et al. (2021) [50] Australia Students
    According to the results, Year 3 students coming from less advantaged schools presented lower achievement
    growth in mathematics. There were no significant differences among indigenous students and students from

    regional locations.

    Hernawati et al. (2021) [39] Indonesia Students from sixth grade in
    elementary school Kamarung 1

    Students’ learning outcomes increased after using videos as a learning technique, as opposed by the post-test and
    pre-test score evaluations.

    Children 2021, 8, 1134 7 of 12

    Table 1. Cont.

    First Author (Year) Region,
    Country Selection of Sample Main Findings

    Lichand et al. (2021) [45] Brazil Observations for middle and high
    school students

    The distance learning increased dropout risk by 365%, with the enhancing number of COVID-19 cases in the area promoting school closure.
    Students learned only 27.5% of the study material, while the average standardized test scores presented a decrease of 0.32 SD. Remote learning
    affected students’ learning more than the impact of COVID-19 infection cases. The re-opening of schools increased the test scores of high school

    students by 20%.

    Ma et al. (2021) [40] China Parents of children aged 7–15 Most of the parents (44.3%) reported that online learning was effective in gaining knowledge and improving skills, not only for practical skills but
    also in communication.

    Mælan et al. (2021) [25] Norway Students in eighth to tenth grade Students with low achievements tended to present lower efforts and self-efficacy, making it difficult for them to follow the class curriculum when
    schools reopened.

    Meeter (2021) [26] Netherlands Pupils in grades 2 through 6 At the end of the year, students presented higher scores in mathematics than the previous year, with weaker students and students from less
    fortunate populations presenting the highest scores.

    Patarapichayatham et al. (2021)
    [46] US Students from pre-kindergarten to

    grade 6
    School closure due to COVID-19 pandemic caused greater learning losses in mathematics than reading, with results varying throughout the grades.

    According to the school status, in low poverty schools students presented more learning losses than in high poverty schools.

    Poulain et al. (2021) [27] Germany Children Children spent significantly more time doing schoolwork when receiving online learning materials regularly than those who received them
    irregularly.

    Sabates et al. (2021) [49] Ghana, Malawi Children During the transition period, a learning loss of 66% was estimated. That estimation created wider gaps in learning losses due to lack of home
    support and economic resources.

    Scarpellini et al. (2021) [28] Italy Mothers of primary and middle
    school students

    In primary school, the majority of students completed the homework (90.5%) which consisted mainly of revisions (74.3%) and no grade attribution
    (43.8%), with 11.5% of students not receiving any grades. On the contrary, in middle school students’ tests were planned (77.7%) and their grades

    varied from previous performance, with lower grades being almost twice as likely in students in primary school (OR = 0.49, CI 0.30–0.78).

    Schult et al. (2021) [29] Germany Fifth graders
    Compared to previous years, the competence of incoming fifth graders in 2020 was on average lower (−0.07 SDs for reading comprehension, –0.09

    SDs for operations, and –0.03 SDs for numbers). High-achieving students presented greater differences in reading comprehension, with lower
    achievements in mathematics.

    Sibley et al. (2021) [47] US Adolescents and young adults
    (A/YAs) with ADHD

    During the first month of the pandemic, A/YAs with ADHD reported that social isolation (41.5%), boredom (21.3%), and difficulties in online
    learning (20.2%) were risk factors for depression and dropping out. On the contrary, more unstructured time to relax (39.4%), spending more time

    with family (29.8%), and more time available to complete academic work (21.3%) were marked as beneficial. A/YAs with higher IQs struggled
    more during the COVID-19 pandemic.

    Soriano-Ferrer et al. (2021) [19] Spain Children with dyslexia and their
    mothers

    Children and adolescents with dyslexia showed less reading activity and motivation during quarantine. The majority of parents reported that their
    children presented difficulties in establishing reading routines and were negatively affected due to the quarantine.

    Spitzer and Musslick (2021) [30] Germany Students from grades 4 to 10 In 2020, during the school closure the performance of students increased compared to the former year. Low-achieving students presented greater
    improvements in performance.

    Siachpazidou et al. (2021) [31] Greece Parents of children aged 4 to 12 School closure due to COVID-19 restrictions was believed by parents (48%) to be damaging for academic performance of their children.

    Steinmayr et al. (2021) [32] Germany Parents The frequency of student–teacher communication was associated with all academic outcomes in both samples. An exception was seen in
    elementary school. Distant teaching activities related to different academic outcomes of children in elementary school and secondary school.

    Tus (2021) [41] Philippines Parents of junior high school
    students in private schools

    The mean score of academic performance was satisfactory, revealing that students performed well during online classes.

    Vainikainen et al. (2021) [33] Finland

    Pupils in grades 4 to 10 (N =
    61,974) and parents of children in

    grades 1 to 10 (N = 39,186) through
    the Qualtrics survey system

    According to pupils and parents, learning outcomes during distance learning did not vary among schools, with distance learning being less
    structured in primary grades and younger pupils requiring more support in the learning process.

    van der Velde et al. (2020) [34] Netherlands Secondary education students During lockdown, students from the highest educational scale were ahead of schedule more than students for lower scales compared to previous
    years. Students being more focused at home resulted in more accurate answers in study trials.

    Yayci et al. (2021) [42] Turkey Parents of elementary school
    children

    Half of the students had less than 60 min of average academic activity time per day, and only two of the students did not have any academic activity.

    Children 2021, 8, 1134 8 of 12

    3.5. Students with Neurodevelopmental Disorders or Special Education Needs

    Although life for all students through the COVID-19 pandemic created many chal-
    lenges, students with neurodevelopmental disorders or special education needs struggled
    the most. Children and adolescents with ADHD faced difficulties in concentrating in
    online classes and completing learning activities due mainly to inattention [12,13]. Many
    of them struggled with online learning and they were at high risk for dropping out or
    depression [47]. Similarly, students with special education needs and disabilities appeared
    to have difficulties, not only academically, but also socially, increasing the drop out risk and
    the time spent in front of screens [14–19]. Specifically, students with dyslexia did not reach
    their reading goals and presented difficulties in reading, comprehension, and mathematics
    during online classes [18,19]. As reported by their parents, students with dyslexia were
    less motivated in establishing reading routines and were negatively affected during the
    quarantine [19].

    3.6. Risk of Bias

    The Newcastle-Ottawa Scale was used for assessing cross-sectional and cohort studies.
    Qualitative studies were not assessed. Regarding the cross-sectional studies, all of them
    scored between four and eight points in the Newcastle-Ottawa Scale, while the majority of
    cohort studies were assessed as good quality studies. In many cases the representative of
    the sample was mainly students, although the sample size was satisfactory. The tool used
    to assess the academic performance (online questionnaires, interviews, observations, exam
    results, software) was described in detail, but in many cases was not validated. The control
    of confounding factors was performed under statistical analysis, with the outcome being
    assessed by self-reporting or record linkage.

    4. Discussion

    Online learning created a new educational reality, which either benefited students or
    promoted educational loss. According to the present systematic review, the majority of studies
    referred to educational losses during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic when compared to the
    pre-pandemic era [23,24,29,34,38,45,46,49,50]. Similarly, studies predicted that students during
    the COVID-19 pandemic may face “learning losses”, accompanied with challenges in mental
    health and well-being [10,50–52]. On the other hand, according to our findings, there were also
    a number of students who benefited from online learning [10,22,27,30,33,34,37,39,40,43]. This
    could be due to the short period of lockdowns in some countries and the lack of substantial
    time to evaluate their academic performance [50].

    According to the present systematic review, eligible studies, which evaluated per-
    formance in mathematics and reading skills during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic,
    provided mixed results. Some students increased their performance [26,29] while others
    presented low scores [34,43,46,50]. Specifically, differences occurred among younger stu-
    dents, who seemed to struggle more during online classes compared to older ones [23,33],
    but who presented more enthusiasm due to more interactive and creative materials [22].
    Following these findings, older students seem to be more autonomous learners and familiar
    with technology. Thus, online learning was not an issue compared to the younger ones [53].
    The absence of face-to-face interaction with teachers may lead to biased conclusions about
    academic performance in general, due to lack of feedback with the students [53].

    According to our findings, economic inequalities played a significant role in academic
    performance due to lack of necessary means, such as laptops/tablets and internet con-
    nection issues, in order for students to attend online classes [24,26,46,49,50]. The ongoing
    COVID-19 pandemic highlighted this issue, as was stated in various articles [7,54,55].
    Parents and caregivers were the main providers, and, in many cases, they failed to help
    their children due to lack of education and familiarization with technology [11,22,33]. On
    the other hand, according to our findings, parents and caregivers spent more time with
    their offspring as they all stayed home and could easily monitor their school behavior and
    performance [11,21,28,31,32,36,41,42].

    Children 2021, 8, 1134 9 of 12

    Distance learning was used as an emergency measure during the COVID-19 pan-
    demic [56]. Thus, there were cases where both students and teachers faced difficulties in
    accessing electronical devices and/or an internet connection, while there were also stu-
    dents who did not have a quiet place to study, especially in disadvantaged families. Many
    teachers, on the other hand, did not have the technical and pedagogical skills needed to
    integrate digital devices in instruction, and consecutively in distance education [57]. Even
    skilled teachers experienced difficulties in adapting to distance learning demands [56], not
    only in terms of teaching but also in offering psychological and communication proximity
    to their students, as pedagogy requires [58].

    The role of teachers includes the evaluation of students’ performance during the
    academic year, among other responsibilities. The use of online learning created a need
    for new ways of assessment to emerge. According to the present systematic review,
    teachers observed a deterioration in students’ performance, mostly in mathematics and
    reading [14,15]. Communication problems, limited attendance to classes, and failure in
    monitoring students were some of the problems teachers had to face [15,45,49]. Concerns
    about the consequences of limited communication between teachers and students were
    raised, especially for younger students who need more support [53]. Furthermore, the
    group of students most affected by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic was those who
    presented neurodevelopmental disorders or special education needs. According to our
    findings, students with ADHD could not concentrate due to inattention [12,13] and those
    with dyslexia could not maintain their reading goals [18,19]. In many cases, the drop out
    risk increased due to lack of socialization and achievement failures [15].

    It is worth mentioning, however, that distance learning (and information and commu-
    nication technology, in general) may benefit students with learning disabilities, providing
    them an environment where they can gain motivation, engagement, and interest, and
    which benefits their attention and the cooperation between students [59].

    Although this is not the first systematic review that examined the performance of
    students during the COVID-19 pandemic [60], we researched a variety of factors that
    contributed to the evaluation of academic performance. Self-report evaluation by the
    students, in accordance with teachers’ and parents’/caregivers’ opinions, presented a more
    accurate picture. The evaluation of school performance should provide information about
    the learning losses of students throughout the year, focusing on the subjects that should
    be reinforced. In this case, new study programs should be established to help students
    accomplish their academic goals.

    Concerning limitations, the fact that many studies chose to examine mathematics
    and reading performance may have led to biased results due to discrimination in subject
    selection. Furthermore, the use of specific programs could create a routine, making it easier
    for students to be more effective, therefore the results may not be accurate. Due to home
    confinement, parents monitored their children’s and adolescents’ performance, and they
    expressed their opinions, which were influenced by their stress levels and socioeconomic
    status [61]. Especially for students with neurodevelopmental disorders or special education
    needs, parents were more stressed and cautious because access to teachers and health
    professionals was limited, thus causing parents to overanalyze their children’s performance.

    5. Conclusions

    The present systematic review highlights in depth the consequences of the school
    closures during the pandemic. Academic performance of students of all grades seemed
    to have been negatively influenced, while younger students and students with neurode-
    velopmental disorders or special education needs were reported to have suffered more.
    We considered it important that these results were recorded not only by students but by
    parents, caregivers, and teachers as well. According to our findings, academic gaps and
    difficulties in lessons such as mathematics and reading were reported, which should be
    taken into consideration. It is important to design the following years in the educational
    systems in order to fill those gaps. On the other hand, in some cases students benefited

    Children 2021, 8, 1134 10 of 12

    from online learning, and those positive effects should also be taken into consideration.
    The investment in technological equipment in schools in order to provide for the majority
    of students, along with the training of teachers in digital competence, should be a priority.

    Nevertheless, the new ways of schooling imposed by the restrictions have not been
    fully tested and the impact cannot be described thoroughly. The COVID-19 pandemic set
    a prerequisite for the use of alternative methods of schooling that could be useful, not
    only in times of crisis, but also in helping students with serious illnesses and special needs.
    A program that could focus on a student’s emotional needs and well-being should be
    established as part of reintegration, in cooperation with teachers and parents/caregivers.
    Special focus should be given to younger ages, which seemed to struggle the most.

    Supplementary Materials: The following are available online at https://www.mdpi.com/article/10
    .3390/children8121134/s1, Table S1: Further description of studies examining school performance in
    children and adolescents.

    Author Contributions: Conceptualization, E.P. and A.T.; methodology, A.S., C.S., E.P. and T.N.S.;
    formal analysis, A.S., C.S. and T.N.S.; investigation, A.S., C.S. and E.P.; data curation, E.P. and T.P.;
    writing—original draft preparation, A.S., C.S. and E.P.; writing—review and editing, E.P., T.P. and
    A.K.; visualization, A.T., A.K. and T.P.; supervision, T.N.S. and A.T. All authors have read and agreed
    to the published version of the manuscript.

    Funding: This research received no external funding.

    Institutional Review Board Statement: Not applicable.

    Informed Consent Statement: Not applicable.

    Data Availability Statement: Data are contained within the article.

    Conflicts of Interest: The authors declare no conflict of interest.

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    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/33627089

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    https://ssrn.com/abstract=3841775

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    http://doi.org/10.1016/S2352-4642(20)30097-3

    https://voxeu.org/article/impact-covid-19-education

    http://doi.org/10.2174/1745017902117010092

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    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/33415470

    • Introduction
    • Materials and Methods
    • Study Design

      Inclusion Criteria

      Data Extraction and Analysis

      Quality Assessment

      Results

      Selection of Studies

      Students

      Parents/Caregivers

      Teachers

      Students with Neurodevelopmental Disorders or Special Education Needs

      Risk of Bias

    • Discussion
    • Conclusions
    • References

    children

    Systematic Review

    School Performance among Children and Adolescents during
    COVID-19 Pandemic: A Systematic Review

    Eleni Panagouli 1,† , Androniki Stavridou 1,† , Christina Savvidi 1, Anastasia Kourti 1 ,
    Theodora Psaltopoulou 2, Theodoros N. Sergentanis 1,2 and Artemis Tsitsika 1,*

    ����������
    �������

    Citation: Panagouli, E.; Stavridou,

    A.; Savvidi, C.; Kourti, A.;

    Psaltopoulou, T.; Sergentanis, T.N.;

    Tsitsika, A. School Performance

    among Children and Adolescents

    during COVID-19 Pandemic: A

    Systematic Review. Children 2021, 8,

    1134. https://doi.org/10.3390/

    children8121134

    Academic Editor: Bin-Bin Chen

    Received: 11 November 2021

    Accepted: 24 November 2021

    Published: 4 December 2021

    Publisher’s Note: MDPI stays neutral

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    Attribution (CC BY) license (https://

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    4.0/).

    1 2nd Department of Pediatrics, “P. & A. Kyriakou” Children’s Hospital, School of Medicine,
    National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, 11527 Athens, Greece; elenpana@med.uoa.gr (E.P.);
    stavroniki@hotmail.com (A.S.); chrisavvidi@gmail.com (C.S.); anastasiakourti.ak@gmail.com (A.K.);
    tsergentanis@yahoo.gr (T.N.S.)

    2 Department of Clinical Therapeutics, “Alexandra” Hospital, School of Medicine, National and Kapodistrian
    University of Athens, 11528 Athens, Greece; tpsaltop@med.uoa.gr

    * Correspondence: info@youth-health.gr; Tel./Fax: +302107710824
    † These authors contributed equally to this work.

    Abstract: As a result of COVID-19 restrictions, conventional ways of schooling were not possible,
    and in order to continue the educational process new digital resources, such as online learning
    platforms, were imposed. Although virtual courses provided high-quality educational material, the
    efficiency in children’s and adolescents’ academic performance in general is yet to be known. The
    purpose of this systematic review is to examine whether the academic performance of school-aged
    students was impacted or not through online learning and modified educational methods during the
    ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. According to the studies, either students suffered from learning losses
    comparing to pre-pandemic years or, in some cases, they benefited from online learning, especially
    in mathematics. Younger students and students with neurodevelopmental disorders or special
    education needs seemed to suffer more. Parents/caregivers reported that their children’s performance
    deteriorated, while others thought that online learning was beneficial. Teachers also reported that
    students presented academic gaps and difficulties in mathematics and reading compared to typical
    years. Consequently, the new ways of schooling imposed by the restrictions have not been fully
    tested and the impact cannot be described thoroughly. The investment in technological equipment in
    schools for the majority of students, along with the training of teachers in digital competence, should
    be a priority.

    Keywords: academic performance; COVID-19 pandemic; students; school closure

    1. Introduction

    Since the spring of 2020 after the first outbreak of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, the COVID-19
    pandemic has caused and continues to cause serious disturbances in daily life around the
    world [1]. To counteract this public health emergency, a number of measures were imposed
    globally, including home-confinement, social distancing, and school closures [2]. Among
    restrictive measures, school closure has changed children’s and adolescents’ everyday
    life, affecting their emotional resilience and mental health overall [3]. Pioneering this
    decision was China, where a nationwide school closure was imposed during the prolonged
    home-confinement period [4].

    Due to restrictions, conventional ways of schooling were not possible and new ways
    of schooling had to be proposed in order to maintain an everyday routine and not disrupt
    the educational process. Homeschooling was a preferable means adopted by various
    educational settings and countries around the world [5]. As a pedagogical method, home-
    schooling has been well established since the 1970s in some countries such as the US, where

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    Children 2021, 8, 1134 2 of 12

    parents, relatives, or tutors provided basic education at home [6]. During that time, con-
    cerns were raised regarding students’ assessments, school performance, and socialization,
    as well as educational materials for students with special educational needs [6]. Students
    need to feel that they act and learn in a safe environment where they are given instructions
    about which learning strategies to follow or consultation about interpersonal relationships
    that blossom in the school context [7].

    During the ongoing pandemic, the homeschooling approach seemed to differ from one
    country to another, using mainly virtual courses delivered through digital resources such as
    online learning platforms [8]. A number of online learning resources were made available,
    including recorded classes, tutorials, online conferences, and educational platforms that
    offered online live interaction with teachers [9]. Teachers played a significant role in
    providing educational materials and assessing students’ performance through online
    exams and homework activities [8,10]. Homeschooling and online learning as altered
    learning styles were used for the first time in such a global context as emergency remote
    education, raising concerns about their efficiency. Inadequacies in education opportunities
    were highlighted during the ongoing pandemic, where the socioeconomic status of parents
    could not always provide the necessary means for online learning or the professional help
    children may need [5,11]. Children with special educational needs or neurodevelopmental
    disorders were at greater risk of presenting educational gaps due to lack of face-to-face
    interaction with the teachers [12–19]. Moreover, the uncertain educational future impacted
    students’ academic achievement, which can be enforced by a stressful life event, such as a
    global pandemic [20].

    Although online learning was an ideal setting through the lockdown period, its effi-
    ciency in children’s and adolescents’ academic performance in general is yet to be known.
    The purpose of this systematic review is to examine whether the academic performance of
    school-aged students was impacted or not through online learning and modified educa-
    tional methods during the ongoing COVID-19

    pandemic.

    2. Materials and Methods
    2.1. Study Design

    A recommended reference framework for systematic reviews was performed, follow-
    ing the PRISMA guidelines for systematic reviews. The research was conducted in the
    following databases: PubMed, Google Scholar, ERIC, SCOPUS, DOAJ, and PsycNet, up
    to 18 July 2021. The algorithm used was the following: (COVID-19 OR SARS-CoV-19 OR
    SARS-CoV-2 OR “2019-nCoV” OR “novel coronavirus”) AND (“school performance” OR
    “academic performance” OR learning OR e-learning OR “distance learning” OR “school
    closure” OR e-classes OR “school grades” OR “academic grades” OR “school notes” OR
    “academic notes” OR “school attainment” OR “academic attainment” OR “educational
    attainment”) AND (child OR children OR kid OR kids OR youngster OR youngsters OR
    adolescent OR adolescents OR teen OR teens OR teenager OR teenagers).

  • References
  • of
    eligible studies and relevant reviews were searched using a snowballing technique.

    2.2. Inclusion Criteria

    All articles were considered eligible for this research if they examined school perfor-
    mance in school-aged children and adolescents during the COVID-19 pandemic based
    on evidence from student reports or students themselves. Kindergarten children were
    excluded. Additionally, due to homeschooling, as opposed to restrictive measures, studies
    involving parents’ observations were also collected in order to provide more data that were
    plausible. Furthermore, as teachers are the main evaluators of children’s and adolescents’
    performance, their observations were valuable and were also collected. Regarding study
    design, only case reports, cohort studies, cross-sectional studies, case series, and case-
    control studies were selected. There were no language restrictions. Two authors (A.S. and
    C.S.) worked independently in pairs to perform the selection of studies.

    Children 2021, 8, 1134 3 of 12

    2.3. Data Extraction and Analysis

    Three reviewers (A.S., C.S., and E.P.) reviewed the articles simultaneously and in-
    dependently through a piloted data extraction form. The following variables were used
    to extract data for each study: name and identity of the article, name of first author and
    year of publication, region/country where the survey was conducted, language, study
    period, study design, sample size, age range, and selection of sample, ascertainment and/or
    association with COVID-19 pandemic, outcomes, statistical analysis, and main findings.
    Any disagreement was resolved through reviewer discussion and team consensus.

    2.4. Quality Assessment

    The quality assessment was performed by two independent reviewers (A.S. and C.S.)
    during the screening process, evaluating the risk of bias in eligible studies through the
    Newcastle-Ottawa Scale for cross-sectional studies and cohort studies accordingly.

    3. Results
    3.1. Selection of Studies

    The research in databases retrieved 23,039 publications, from which 3515 were dupli-
    cates. After screening a total of 19,524 records by title, abstract, and full text, 42 of them
    were finally considered eligible [7,8,10–19,21–50] (Prisma Flow Chart—Figure 1).

    Children 2021, 8, x FOR PEER REVIEW 3 of 14

    2.3. Data Extraction and Analysis
    Three reviewers (A.S., C.S., and E.P.) reviewed the articles simultaneously and inde-

    pendently through a piloted data extraction form. The following variables were used to
    extract data for each study: name and identity of the article, name of first author and year
    of publication, region/country where the survey was conducted, language, study period,
    study design, sample size, age range, and selection of sample, ascertainment and/or asso-
    ciation with COVID-19 pandemic, outcomes, statistical analysis, and main findings. Any
    disagreement was resolved through reviewer discussion and team consensus.

    2.4. Quality Assessment
    The quality assessment was performed by two independent reviewers (A.S. and C.S.)

    during the screening process, evaluating the risk of bias in eligible studies through the
    Newcastle-Ottawa Scale for cross-sectional studies and cohort studies accordingly.

    3.

  • Results
  • 3.1. Selection of Studies

    The research in databases retrieved 23,039 publications, from which 3515 were du-
    plicates. After screening a total of 19,524 records by title, abstract, and full text, 42 of them
    were finally considered eligible [7,8,10–19,21–50] (Prisma Flow Chart—Figure 1).

    Figure 1. PRISMA flow chart.

    The demographic characteristics are summarized in Table 1. The majority of the stud-
    ies were conducted in Europe (n = 19 studies) [13,17–19,21–35], followed by Asia (n = 13
    studies) [7,8,10,11,15,16,36–41] and America (n = 7 studies) [12,14,42–47], while two stud-
    ies were conducted in Africa [48,49] and one in Oceania [50]. The performance of

    Figure 1. PRISMA flow chart.

    The demographic characteristics are summarized in Table 1. The majority of the
    studies were conducted in Europe (n = 19 studies) [13,17–19,21–35], followed by Asia (n = 13
    studies) [7,8,10,11,15,16,36–41] and America (n = 7 studies) [12,14,42–47], while two studies
    were conducted in Africa [48,49] and one in Oceania [50]. The performance of 15,385,942
    students was assessed. Furthermore, 143,511 teachers and 22,203 parents participated in
    19 studies in order to report their students’ and children’s performance, correspondingly.
    It should be pointed out that in one study the participants were 15 teachers and parents
    (half of them had double roles), without discriminating the exact number of teachers or
    parents [16]. Moreover, in one study 5832 schools participated without mentioning the total

    Children 2021, 8, 1134 4 of 12

    number of students [35]. Although the majority of the studies referred to students, the age
    range in most of them was unclear. In some studies where the subjects’ age was defined,
    the age range of the students was between 8 and 22 years old. Concerning the study design,
    17 of the studies were cross-sectional [7,8,12,14,15,17,18,25,26,28,31–34,36,40,41] and 13
    were cohort studies [19,21,23,24,27,29,30,37,38,45,46,49,50], while the rest were case studies
    (n = 5) [10,13,16,42,48] or mixed design studies (n = 5) [11,22,35,44,47]. One study was a
    qualitative description study [39] and one was a qualitative projection study [43] (Table S1).

    3.2. Students

    The new way of online learning as imposed by the school closure affected all aspects of
    students’ life. According to the studies, students either suffered from learning losses com-
    pared to pre-pandemic years [23,24,29,34,38,45,46,49,50] or, in some cases, they benefited
    from online learning [10,22,27,30,33,34,37,39,40,43]. More specifically, greater emphasis was
    given concerning academic performance in two sections, mathematics [10,29,34,43,46,50]
    and reading [29,43,46], with mixed results. Most of the students presented a significant
    decrease in mathematics scores compared to previous years [34,43,46,50], while a small
    number maintained their math performance [10] or even increased it, especially low-
    achieving students [26,29]. On the other hand, concerning mostly high-achieving students,
    they either maintained or gained reading skills [29,43,46]. Low-achievement students, who
    either presented improvements [7,30,37] or performed poorly, acquired greater changes
    in performance [25,34]. Younger students faced more difficulties during online learn-
    ing [23,33], however they presented more enthusiasm for learning materials because they
    were more creative and interactive [22]. Overall, 34% of younger and 21% of older pupils
    reported not learning many new things due to tasks being repetitive and simple [22].

    3.3. Parents/Caregivers

    During the lockdown, parents and caregivers played an important role in children’s
    education because classes were implemented online and mostly at home. Thus, parents or
    caregivers could monitor their children’s performance and voice concerns. Some of them
    reported that their children’s performance deteriorated [11,21,28,31,42], while others thought
    that online learning was beneficial due to unaffected contact with the teachers [32,36,41].
    Parents or caregivers believed that younger children could not discipline or self-regulate
    in order to attend online classes and do their homework [11] while parental support was
    present [22,33]. Many of them were concerned because they could not always provide the help
    needed by their children due to lack of experience with new technologies [11]. Socioeconomic
    inequalities played a significant role in access to online learning, affecting the performance of
    students of all grades, especially in low-income communities [24,26,46,49,50].

    3.4. Teachers

    The main role in evaluating children’s performance was occupied by teachers in all grades.
    The COVID-19 restrictions prohibited face-to-face interaction with the students, entering a
    new method of online learning. According to teachers, students presented academic gaps
    and difficulties in mathematics and reading compared to typical years [14,15]. The lack
    of in-person consultation, especially in science subjects, was believed to be an aggravating
    factor for students’ performance [48]. A significant number of students did not participate
    in online classes, mostly from non-privileged areas, increasing the drop out risk, as reported
    by teachers [15,45]. In addition, teachers raised concerns for students with special disabilities
    and non-native speakers [44]. The interactive and interesting material used in online classes
    increased the interest of younger students, while good communication between teachers and
    parents/caregivers could provide learning activities that were better in quality [8,10].

    Children 2021, 8, 1134 5 of 12

    Table 1. Description of studies examining school performance in children and adolescents.

    First Author (Year) Region, Country Selection of Sample Main Findings

    Amelia et al. (2020) [10] Cimahi, Indonesia
    Teachers (4) and students (6)

    from junior high school in
    Cimahi

    According to results, five out of six students scored above MCC (minimum completeness criteria), showing that
    e-learning did not disturb the learning of mathematics. Achievement and learning activities could be increased through

    good communication between teachers and students.

    Andrew et al. (2020) [21] UK Parents of children aged 4–15
    There was a decrease in hours engaged with learning activities in children, from 90% before lockdown to 60% during
    lockdown. Secondary school students presented the bigger decrease from 6.59 to 4.15 h. The majority of them spent

    around 2 to 4 h in learning activities, while a substantial minority (20%) spent less than 2 h.

    Bansal et al. (2020) [36] India Parents with children using
    remote learning

    Responders believed that remote learning was beneficial because it was safe (89.9%), helped with keeping in touch with
    teachers and classmates (61.6%), and with learning material (63.1%).

    Becker et al. (2020) [12] US
    Adolescents (118 with

    ADHD) from the 9th through
    11th grades and their parents

    During the COVID-19 pandemic, 72% of the adolescents spent 3 h or less on schoolwork on an average school day.
    Specifically, more difficulties and fewer routines were reported from adolescents with ADHD than those without.

    Adolescents with ADHD experienced more difficulty in concentrating and remote learning, higher negative affect, and
    fewer adolescent routines due to COVID-19.

    Bobo et al. (2020) [13] France Parents of children and
    adolescents with ADHD

    Children with ADHD struggled to complete school-related tasks as reported by their parents, with the role of inattention
    being one of the main factors in children’s learning difficulties.

    Bubb and Jones (2020) [22] Norway Parents, teachers, and pupils
    (6–16 years)

    The youngest pupils showed more enthusiasm in more creative tasks assigned by teachers during homeschooling. In
    total, 79% of younger pupils agreed that they had learned many new things, while 65% of older students agreed.

    However, a significant percentage of pupils (34% of younger students and 21% of older) reported not learning many new
    things because the tasks were repetitive and simple. In addition, 62% of older pupils stated that they had more

    homework, and they were more concentrated at home. Parental support enhanced pupils work at home and their
    independence concerning their tasks.

    Dong et al. (2020) [11] China Parents through
    Wenjuanxing platform

    The parents generally had negative beliefs regarding online learning and preferred learning in school, at least for
    younger ages. They believed that their children could not self-regulate and lacked discipline in doing their homework.
    Furthermore, the lack of professional knowledge in supporting their children during online learning was considered an
    aggravating factor. During the COVID-19 pandemic, only a small percentage of parents stated that online learning had
    better learning outcomes (11.0%) and generated improvement in several skills including language development (21.2%),

    literacy (25.2%), social skills (24.8%), independent skills (17.8%), arts (21.1%), and physical health (10.9%).

    Goodrich et al. (2020) [14] US Elementary school teachers

    According to the teachers, students presented larger academic gaps in the fall of 2020 when compared to typical years,
    with many of them not ready for transitioning to the next grade. Moreover, 73.9% and 69.7% of teachers indicated

    difficulties in reading and mathematics, respectively, which was larger than typical years. Similar findings reported by
    teachers for students with disabilities, where 58.5% of teachers confirmed achievement gaps larger than typical years.

    Kuhfeld et al. (2020) [43] US
    Seventh-grade students who

    took the MAP Growth
    assessments in 2017–2018

    Students attending school in fall 2020 were estimated to return with approximately 70% reading gains relative to a
    typical school year. However, in mathematics students’ estimation was smaller, fluctuating from 37% to 50% compared to
    a typical school year. Although those projections may not be universal, the majority of students were making gains in

    reading.
    Maldonado and De Witte

    (2020) [35] Belgium Schools in Flanders In 2020, students experienced significant learning losses in all subjects, while mathematics scores presented the biggest
    decrease in school averages (SD = 0.19) and Dutch scores (SD = 0.29) compared to previous years.

    Moghli and Shuayb (2020)
    [15]

    Jordan, Lebanon, and the
    Occupied West Bank and

    Gaza Strip

    Teachers (274), students
    (105), and parents (299)

    According to teachers, a significant rate of dropout was noted in non-formal schools, with 77% of the students not
    participating in distance learning. The majority of them were boys (70%), with more than half (53%) being children with

    special educational needs. In addition, 15% of students reported a decline in their academic performance.

    Children 2021, 8, 1134 6 of 12

    Table 1. Cont.

    First Author (Year) Region, Country Selection of Sample Main Findings

    Putri et al. (2020) [16] Indonesia
    Teachers and parents of two

    primary schools in Tangerang,
    Indonesia.

    Some of the challenges faced by students included the limitation of social contact and communication, and
    difficulties appeared in students with special educational needs and increased time in front of screens.

    Sintema (2020) [48] Zambia
    Teachers at a public secondary

    school in Chipata District of
    Eastern Province in Zambia

    According to the teachers’ views, the possibility of a decline in performance of secondary school students in
    national examination was likely to occur. The reduction of face-to-face interaction with the teachers was

    considered an aggravating factor due to lack of consultation from the teachers, especially in science subjects.

    Tomasik et al. (2020) [23] Switzerland Pupils from MINDSTEPS
    system (grade 3 to 9)

    In terms of learning gains, students in secondary school remained unaffected, while primary school students
    presented a decrease in learning.

    Zhang Qing et al. (2020) [7] China Middle school students
    There was a positive correlation between emotional and learning management skills (r = 0.498, p < 0.01). Learning management skills were predicted by positive emotional ability, while low- and high-scoring groups presented

    significant differences in learning management skills (t = –14.69, p < 0.001).

    Zhao Ying et al. (2020) [8] China Students (738), parents (1062),
    and teachers (210)

    According to teachers, online learning increased students’ interest, mostly in younger students. Furthermore, half
    of the teachers expressed that homeschooling would have a negative impact on academic performance of their

    students. Schooling in classrooms was considered a more preferable way of learning, as stated by both parents and
    teachers.

    Banerjee et al. (2021) [17] UK

    Parents of children and young
    people (CYP) with special

    educational needs and
    disabilities (SEND)

    A significant number of parents (n = 18) reported that their children and young people with special educational
    needs and disabilities were affected emotionally and academically by the COVID-19 pandemic.

    Baschenis et al. (2021) [18] Italy Students with and without
    dyslexia

    Children with dyslexia presented more difficulties in online classes and in reading, comprehension, and
    mathematics, as confirmed by their parents. More than half (59 to 63%) did not reach the expected goals of reading

    skills.

    Catalano et al. (2021) [44] NY, US
    K-12 teachers from New York

    State, largely from Long Island
    and New York City

    According to teachers, students failed to regularly complete their assignments (nearly 30%), with this being seen
    mostly in students from less privileged areas. Concerns were raised for educational outcomes in students with

    disabilities (SWDs) and English language learners (ELLs).

    Clark et al. (2021) [37] China
    Students who were in the last

    semester of their middle school
    education

    During lockdown, student academic results improved by 0.22 SD through online learning, especially for those
    students who received online lessons from experts rather than their own teachers. Students using computers
    presented better performance than those using smartphones for online classes. Although students with high

    performance maintained their performance throughout lockdown, those with low performance benefited more.

    Cui et al. (2021) [38] China Parent-child pairs of
    elementary school

    The majority of students performed poorly in online classes and their performance decrease was statistically
    significant as time lapsed (p = 0.047). Greater performance in online classes was presented by students in grade 1

    (23/46, 50%) and in grade 6 (13/31, 41.9%).

    Engzell et al. (2021) [24] Netherlands Students in grades 4–7
    A learning loss equal to 0.08 SD was revealed according to the results. That loss was higher in students with
    parents with low education levels (60%), enhancing the inequality among families and children during the

    pandemic.

    Gore et al. (2021) [50] Australia Students
    According to the results, Year 3 students coming from less advantaged schools presented lower achievement
    growth in mathematics. There were no significant differences among indigenous students and students from

    regional locations.

    Hernawati et al. (2021) [39] Indonesia Students from sixth grade in
    elementary school Kamarung 1

    Students’ learning outcomes increased after using videos as a learning technique, as opposed by the post-test and
    pre-test score evaluations.

    Children 2021, 8, 1134 7 of 12

    Table 1. Cont.

    First Author (Year) Region,
    Country Selection of Sample Main Findings

    Lichand et al. (2021) [45] Brazil Observations for middle and high
    school students

    The distance learning increased dropout risk by 365%, with the enhancing number of COVID-19 cases in the area promoting school closure.
    Students learned only 27.5% of the study material, while the average standardized test scores presented a decrease of 0.32 SD. Remote learning
    affected students’ learning more than the impact of COVID-19 infection cases. The re-opening of schools increased the test scores of high school

    students by 20%.

    Ma et al. (2021) [40] China Parents of children aged 7–15 Most of the parents (44.3%) reported that online learning was effective in gaining knowledge and improving skills, not only for practical skills but
    also in communication.

    Mælan et al. (2021) [25] Norway Students in eighth to tenth grade Students with low achievements tended to present lower efforts and self-efficacy, making it difficult for them to follow the class curriculum when
    schools reopened.

    Meeter (2021) [26] Netherlands Pupils in grades 2 through 6 At the end of the year, students presented higher scores in mathematics than the previous year, with weaker students and students from less
    fortunate populations presenting the highest scores.

    Patarapichayatham et al. (2021)
    [46] US Students from pre-kindergarten to

    grade 6
    School closure due to COVID-19 pandemic caused greater learning losses in mathematics than reading, with results varying throughout the grades.

    According to the school status, in low poverty schools students presented more learning losses than in high poverty schools.

    Poulain et al. (2021) [27] Germany Children Children spent significantly more time doing schoolwork when receiving online learning materials regularly than those who received them
    irregularly.

    Sabates et al. (2021) [49] Ghana, Malawi Children During the transition period, a learning loss of 66% was estimated. That estimation created wider gaps in learning losses due to lack of home
    support and economic resources.

    Scarpellini et al. (2021) [28] Italy Mothers of primary and middle
    school students

    In primary school, the majority of students completed the homework (90.5%) which consisted mainly of revisions (74.3%) and no grade attribution
    (43.8%), with 11.5% of students not receiving any grades. On the contrary, in middle school students’ tests were planned (77.7%) and their grades

    varied from previous performance, with lower grades being almost twice as likely in students in primary school (OR = 0.49, CI 0.30–0.78).

    Schult et al. (2021) [29] Germany Fifth graders
    Compared to previous years, the competence of incoming fifth graders in 2020 was on average lower (−0.07 SDs for reading comprehension, –0.09

    SDs for operations, and –0.03 SDs for numbers). High-achieving students presented greater differences in reading comprehension, with lower
    achievements in mathematics.

    Sibley et al. (2021) [47] US Adolescents and young adults
    (A/YAs) with ADHD

    During the first month of the pandemic, A/YAs with ADHD reported that social isolation (41.5%), boredom (21.3%), and difficulties in online
    learning (20.2%) were risk factors for depression and dropping out. On the contrary, more unstructured time to relax (39.4%), spending more time

    with family (29.8%), and more time available to complete academic work (21.3%) were marked as beneficial. A/YAs with higher IQs struggled
    more during the COVID-19 pandemic.

    Soriano-Ferrer et al. (2021) [19] Spain Children with dyslexia and their
    mothers

    Children and adolescents with dyslexia showed less reading activity and motivation during quarantine. The majority of parents reported that their
    children presented difficulties in establishing reading routines and were negatively affected due to the quarantine.

    Spitzer and Musslick (2021) [30] Germany Students from grades 4 to 10 In 2020, during the school closure the performance of students increased compared to the former year. Low-achieving students presented greater
    improvements in performance.

    Siachpazidou et al. (2021) [31] Greece Parents of children aged 4 to 12 School closure due to COVID-19 restrictions was believed by parents (48%) to be damaging for academic performance of their children.

    Steinmayr et al. (2021) [32] Germany Parents The frequency of student–teacher communication was associated with all academic outcomes in both samples. An exception was seen in
    elementary school. Distant teaching activities related to different academic outcomes of children in elementary school and secondary school.

    Tus (2021) [41] Philippines Parents of junior high school
    students in private schools

    The mean score of academic performance was satisfactory, revealing that students performed well during online classes.

    Vainikainen et al. (2021) [33] Finland

    Pupils in grades 4 to 10 (N =
    61,974) and parents of children in

    grades 1 to 10 (N = 39,186) through
    the Qualtrics survey system

    According to pupils and parents, learning outcomes during distance learning did not vary among schools, with distance learning being less
    structured in primary grades and younger pupils requiring more support in the learning process.

    van der Velde et al. (2020) [34] Netherlands Secondary education students During lockdown, students from the highest educational scale were ahead of schedule more than students for lower scales compared to previous
    years. Students being more focused at home resulted in more accurate answers in study trials.

    Yayci et al. (2021) [42] Turkey Parents of elementary school
    children

    Half of the students had less than 60 min of average academic activity time per day, and only two of the students did not have any academic activity.

    Children 2021, 8, 1134 8 of 12

    3.5. Students with Neurodevelopmental Disorders or Special Education Needs

    Although life for all students through the COVID-19 pandemic created many chal-
    lenges, students with neurodevelopmental disorders or special education needs struggled
    the most. Children and adolescents with ADHD faced difficulties in concentrating in
    online classes and completing learning activities due mainly to inattention [12,13]. Many
    of them struggled with online learning and they were at high risk for dropping out or
    depression [47]. Similarly, students with special education needs and disabilities appeared
    to have difficulties, not only academically, but also socially, increasing the drop out risk and
    the time spent in front of screens [14–19]. Specifically, students with dyslexia did not reach
    their reading goals and presented difficulties in reading, comprehension, and mathematics
    during online classes [18,19]. As reported by their parents, students with dyslexia were
    less motivated in establishing reading routines and were negatively affected during the
    quarantine [19].

    3.6. Risk of Bias

    The Newcastle-Ottawa Scale was used for assessing cross-sectional and cohort studies.
    Qualitative studies were not assessed. Regarding the cross-sectional studies, all of them
    scored between four and eight points in the Newcastle-Ottawa Scale, while the majority of
    cohort studies were assessed as good quality studies. In many cases the representative of
    the sample was mainly students, although the sample size was satisfactory. The tool used
    to assess the academic performance (online questionnaires, interviews, observations, exam
    results, software) was described in detail, but in many cases was not validated. The control
    of confounding factors was performed under statistical analysis, with the outcome being
    assessed by self-reporting or record linkage.

    4. Discussion

    Online learning created a new educational reality, which either benefited students or
    promoted educational loss. According to the present systematic review, the majority of studies
    referred to educational losses during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic when compared to the
    pre-pandemic era [23,24,29,34,38,45,46,49,50]. Similarly, studies predicted that students during
    the COVID-19 pandemic may face “learning losses”, accompanied with challenges in mental
    health and well-being [10,50–52]. On the other hand, according to our findings, there were also
    a number of students who benefited from online learning [10,22,27,30,33,34,37,39,40,43]. This
    could be due to the short period of lockdowns in some countries and the lack of substantial
    time to evaluate their academic performance [50].

    According to the present systematic review, eligible studies, which evaluated per-
    formance in mathematics and reading skills during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic,
    provided mixed results. Some students increased their performance [26,29] while others
    presented low scores [34,43,46,50]. Specifically, differences occurred among younger stu-
    dents, who seemed to struggle more during online classes compared to older ones [23,33],
    but who presented more enthusiasm due to more interactive and creative materials [22].
    Following these findings, older students seem to be more autonomous learners and familiar
    with technology. Thus, online learning was not an issue compared to the younger ones [53].
    The absence of face-to-face interaction with teachers may lead to biased conclusions about
    academic performance in general, due to lack of feedback with the students [53].

    According to our findings, economic inequalities played a significant role in academic
    performance due to lack of necessary means, such as laptops/tablets and internet con-
    nection issues, in order for students to attend online classes [24,26,46,49,50]. The ongoing
    COVID-19 pandemic highlighted this issue, as was stated in various articles [7,54,55].
    Parents and caregivers were the main providers, and, in many cases, they failed to help
    their children due to lack of education and familiarization with technology [11,22,33]. On
    the other hand, according to our findings, parents and caregivers spent more time with
    their offspring as they all stayed home and could easily monitor their school behavior and
    performance [11,21,28,31,32,36,41,42].

    Children 2021, 8, 1134 9 of 12

    Distance learning was used as an emergency measure during the COVID-19 pan-
    demic [56]. Thus, there were cases where both students and teachers faced difficulties in
    accessing electronical devices and/or an internet connection, while there were also stu-
    dents who did not have a quiet place to study, especially in disadvantaged families. Many
    teachers, on the other hand, did not have the technical and pedagogical skills needed to
    integrate digital devices in instruction, and consecutively in distance education [57]. Even
    skilled teachers experienced difficulties in adapting to distance learning demands [56], not
    only in terms of teaching but also in offering psychological and communication proximity
    to their students, as pedagogy requires [58].

    The role of teachers includes the evaluation of students’ performance during the
    academic year, among other responsibilities. The use of online learning created a need
    for new ways of assessment to emerge. According to the present systematic review,
    teachers observed a deterioration in students’ performance, mostly in mathematics and
    reading [14,15]. Communication problems, limited attendance to classes, and failure in
    monitoring students were some of the problems teachers had to face [15,45,49]. Concerns
    about the consequences of limited communication between teachers and students were
    raised, especially for younger students who need more support [53]. Furthermore, the
    group of students most affected by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic was those who
    presented neurodevelopmental disorders or special education needs. According to our
    findings, students with ADHD could not concentrate due to inattention [12,13] and those
    with dyslexia could not maintain their reading goals [18,19]. In many cases, the drop out
    risk increased due to lack of socialization and achievement failures [15].

    It is worth mentioning, however, that distance learning (and information and commu-
    nication technology, in general) may benefit students with learning disabilities, providing
    them an environment where they can gain motivation, engagement, and interest, and
    which benefits their attention and the cooperation between students [59].

    Although this is not the first systematic review that examined the performance of
    students during the COVID-19 pandemic [60], we researched a variety of factors that
    contributed to the evaluation of academic performance. Self-report evaluation by the
    students, in accordance with teachers’ and parents’/caregivers’ opinions, presented a more
    accurate picture. The evaluation of school performance should provide information about
    the learning losses of students throughout the year, focusing on the subjects that should
    be reinforced. In this case, new study programs should be established to help students
    accomplish their academic goals.

    Concerning limitations, the fact that many studies chose to examine mathematics
    and reading performance may have led to biased results due to discrimination in subject
    selection. Furthermore, the use of specific programs could create a routine, making it easier
    for students to be more effective, therefore the results may not be accurate. Due to home
    confinement, parents monitored their children’s and adolescents’ performance, and they
    expressed their opinions, which were influenced by their stress levels and socioeconomic
    status [61]. Especially for students with neurodevelopmental disorders or special education
    needs, parents were more stressed and cautious because access to teachers and health
    professionals was limited, thus causing parents to overanalyze their children’s performance.

    5. Conclusions

    The present systematic review highlights in depth the consequences of the school
    closures during the pandemic. Academic performance of students of all grades seemed
    to have been negatively influenced, while younger students and students with neurode-
    velopmental disorders or special education needs were reported to have suffered more.
    We considered it important that these results were recorded not only by students but by
    parents, caregivers, and teachers as well. According to our findings, academic gaps and
    difficulties in lessons such as mathematics and reading were reported, which should be
    taken into consideration. It is important to design the following years in the educational
    systems in order to fill those gaps. On the other hand, in some cases students benefited

    Children 2021, 8, 1134 10 of 12

    from online learning, and those positive effects should also be taken into consideration.
    The investment in technological equipment in schools in order to provide for the majority
    of students, along with the training of teachers in digital competence, should be a priority.

    Nevertheless, the new ways of schooling imposed by the restrictions have not been
    fully tested and the impact cannot be described thoroughly. The COVID-19 pandemic set
    a prerequisite for the use of alternative methods of schooling that could be useful, not
    only in times of crisis, but also in helping students with serious illnesses and special needs.
    A program that could focus on a student’s emotional needs and well-being should be
    established as part of reintegration, in cooperation with teachers and parents/caregivers.
    Special focus should be given to younger ages, which seemed to struggle the most.

    Supplementary Materials: The following are available online at https://www.mdpi.com/article/10
    .3390/children8121134/s1, Table S1: Further description of studies examining school performance in
    children and adolescents.

    Author Contributions: Conceptualization, E.P. and A.T.; methodology, A.S., C.S., E.P. and T.N.S.;
    formal analysis, A.S., C.S. and T.N.S.; investigation, A.S., C.S. and E.P.; data curation, E.P. and T.P.;
    writing—original draft preparation, A.S., C.S. and E.P.; writing—review and editing, E.P., T.P. and
    A.K.; visualization, A.T., A.K. and T.P.; supervision, T.N.S. and A.T. All authors have read and agreed
    to the published version of the manuscript.

    Funding: This research received no external funding.

    Institutional Review Board Statement: Not applicable.

    Informed Consent Statement: Not applicable.

    Data Availability Statement: Data are contained within the article.

    Conflicts of Interest: The authors declare no conflict of interest.

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    • Introduction
    • Materials and Methods
    • Study Design

      Inclusion Criteria

      Data Extraction and Analysis

      Quality Assessment

      Results

      Selection of Studies

      Students

      Parents/Caregivers

      Teachers

      Students with Neurodevelopmental Disorders or Special Education Needs

      Risk of Bias

    • Discussion
    • Conclusions
    • References

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    181

    A VIEW OF ONLINE TEACHING AND LEARNING DURING THE

    PANDEMIC

    Alina SÎRGHEA1, Carmen-Olguța BREZULEANU1

    e-mail: asirghea@uaiasi.ro

    Abstract

    The pandemic caused by SARS-CoV-2 impacted the way in which all the activities of our lives were developed, and the

    educational system was one of the most affected aspects. The report of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and

    Cultural Organization (UNESCO, 2020) warns that the pandemic has caused the most serious disorder recorded in

    education systems in all history, and that higher education would be the sector that could experience the highest dropout

    rates, as well as a reduction in enrollment of the order of 3.5%, which means a global loss of 7.9 million students. To

    alleviate this crisis, it recommends formulating comprehensive plans for the reopening of schools, protecting education

    funding and collaborating to moderate negative impacts, increase the resilience of education systems with a view to fair

    and sustainable development, rethink education and energize positive change in teaching and learning (UNESCO,

    2020). After the declaration of a health emergency, all education levels had to quickly reorganize itself, migrating

    teaching and learning processes to virtual environment. Although this is increasingly used, there are still a lot of

    elements that prevent it from working successfully in all contexts.

    Key words: online education, technology, pandemic, social and pedagogical transformations

    1 “Ion Ionescu de la Brad” University of Life Sciences, Iași, Romania

    Restrictions experienced lately forced

    humanity to adapt to a new way of life that gives

    place to the creation of new scenarios in which the

    use of new technologies that they are transforming

    the physical spaces, which were gradually replaced

    by virtual spaces. Digital applications became a

    new channel of communication and information

    that led to teleworking and tele-education. The use

    of tele-working in the educational field, according

    to Marti Castro (2003) it is “increasingly broad and

    diverse, since that can be used by the teacher as a

    pedagogical support or the student for learning

    autonomous” (p. 406); However, if in the face-to-

    face institutions, educational phenomena related to

    school accompaniment or students with learning

    problems, in the new context, the following

    question arises: What about learning in virtual

    classrooms?

    The insertion of new information and

    communication technologies (ICT) in the

    educational field, it impacted on the learning

    process of the learner, in the role of the teacher, in

    the contents, in the evaluation. The role of the

    educational subject faces a period of crisis, because

    on the one hand it generates significant learning;

    and on the other hand the lack of training in the

    disciplines gives chances to wide generational

    gaps, such as “the digital illiterate (teacher) must

    teach the 21st century technology scholar

    (student)” (Chamba, 2019). Still, technological

    innovation in the educational system it has been

    given gradually and according to the resources that

    each educational institution owns; however, the

    current pandemic caused by the COVID19

    abruptly forced a change in the teaching and

    learning process face to face with a virtual scenario

    without considering the context of the educational

    communities.

    Without face-to-face communication and

    without possibility to leave home, teachers must

    adapt and adapt their practices as providers of

    educational services to home delivery. Lack of

    physical interactions and absence of a true school

    setting are major limits. To alleviate these

    limitations, teachers are invited to consider ways to

    use effectively existing resources and transform as

    designers and facilitators of learning having the

    home as a setting, and which evolves in space and

    time. While maintaining social interactions with

    the students, they have to supervise distant

    students, bridge the physical distance and organize

    different types of curricular resources.

    Telecommunications operators, companies

    and private organizations reacted adequately,

    offering, on the one hand, the necessary

    bandwidth, and on the other, services, programs,

    Universitatea de Ştiinţele Vieții

    182

    software, platforms, etc., to facilitate online

    teaching in the event of a crisis without warning.

    Keep in mind that there is a forecast that the

    global online education market will reach one

    global investment of $ 350 billion in 2025

    (Research and Markets, 2019).

    In parallel, governments had to act with

    reflexes in facilitating programs in some countries

    distance education through basic classes that could

    then be supplemented by the teachers, also online,

    from different centers or from their homes. Thus,

    students, from their households, could continue

    their studies by minimizing possible curricular

    losses. The answers of the different countries, has

    been unequal but always oriented, obviously,

    towards non-contact methodologies (World Bank,

    2020).
    MATERIAL AND METHOD

    This paperwork focuses on theoretical

    research, investigating various actions taken in
    Europe in the direction of online education.
    Through these case studies we want to draw
    recommendations as well as an inventory of the
    impact and effects recorded during distance /

    online learning in the pandemic.
    .

    RESULTS AND DISCUSSIONS

    Without any doubt, the universities, had it

    and have it more easy to treat this pandemic

    situation. In the first place, because many of them

    already had digital platforms that they had been

    using in some phases of the development of their

    teaching, generally face-to-face. And secondly,

    because age of students makes teaching / learning

    of this type more viable.

    The easiest in these cases, to the less

    experienced teachers, it has been the live broadcast

    of a session identical to the face-to-face time

    above, or the recording of that session for later

    reception by the students or both situations

    combined in auditorium class.

    Another teacher, more prepared in this type

    of methodological strategies, he tried to take

    advantage of the various possibilities of the digital

    platforms and social networks themselves to

    develop online tasks in a more creative and

    efficient way.

    It is true that in these times it has happened

    that, in the face of the forced abrupt change in the

    ways of teaching, learning and evaluating, which

    could not continue to be face-to-face, a distance

    education put very in question in pre-COVID

    times, it had to be implemented urgently, on a

    massive scale and with large pedagogical

    limitations in times of COVID, and it is intended to

    take advantage of hybrid formats, combined or

    from blended learning in later times, postCOVID.

    In this paperwork we prioritize the concept

    of “digital distance education” as encompassing a

    model of non-face-to-face education, fully

    supported by digital systems. You would be talking

    about an education virtual, a teaching, an online

    learning, supported by technologies, on the net, on

    the Internet, on the web, e-learning, distributed

    learning, etc. All these denominations, as emerging

    at the time and successors of the original distance

    education, tend towards openness, non-dependence

    on physical location, to the flexibility of time,

    space and rhythm of learning, to active learning, to

    interaction (synchronous and asynchronous), etc.,

    as substantial elements in any definition of these

    concepts (Singh and Thurman, 2019).

    It seems that a bigger value is given to the

    placement of teacher and student in a material

    place and temporary time so that a relational,

    collaborative, collective work, etc. can take place.

    Probably by those who claim that have not worked

    with collaborative groups in digital distance

    education. What’s more that it can be worked

    synchronously, and at any time, it can be done

    asynchronously. And the results they seem

    unquestionable.

    All this without stopping in what is coming,

    linked to artificial intelligence and virtual reality.

    Advance that will allow, for example, that a group

    of students learn together, bringing all the

    advantages of classroom to the virtual

    environment, even though they are actually

    thousands of kilometers from each other. The

    teachers may or may not enter that virtual

    classroom, observe the behaviors of their students,

    intervene to orient, etc. These advances in virtual

    reality may be joined in the near future by facial

    recognition of the participants in the group. Facial

    expressions, such as those seen in face-to-face

    settings, can show us the degree of interest, their

    state of mind, in different instances of their

    participation in the group and thus enable

    appropriate reactions on the part of educators.

    Also these technologies will be able to

    recognize and analyze the voices. Ways of

    speaking matter for the better understand what is

    being said and how it is said. The possibilities of

    offering biometric data while learning will also

    come, such as heart rate, body temperature, blood

    pressure, brain activity, etc. know how a student

    faces stress, the levels of effort required before

    certain tasks, etc. (Lush, Cooper and Soto, 2020).

    According to the United Nations document

    (UN, 2020a) in times of pandemic restrictions, in

    the countries developed digital distance education

    covered between 80 and 85% of the student

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    183

    population, while that, in low-income countries,

    the coverage of virtual education systems would

    not reach 50%. According UNESCO data (2020a),

    half of the total number of students, about 826

    million, which remained outside the classroom due

    to the COVID-19 pandemic, did not have access to

    a home computer and 43% (706 million) did not

    have the Internet at home, at a time when digital-

    based distance learning was used to guarantee

    educational continuity in the vast majority of

    countries. For this and other reasons, the digital

    gap and other gaps, have possibly become more

    acute (Dreesen et al., 2020), hence the UN bet for a

    widespread shift in the world of work towards

    more inclusive and people-centered digitization

    people (UN, 2020b). Perhaps this serious problem

    supposes a knock on the socio-educational policies

    implemented by different governments.

    Although complementary efforts are

    increasing in this regard, the commitment to

    connectivity and access universal Internet should

    be a goal close in time as governments’ response to

    this crisis.

    It is about the inalienable and universal right

    to education that it should entail in digital times,

    such as, the right to connectivity, accessibility, and

    the minimum endowment of technological device

    for make it come true. This would be the case of

    sectors of the population that do not have

    connectivity or devices adequate, or sufficient in

    families with several children, for the reception of

    the contents and the interaction with the teachers.

    Television in these cases can reduce this problem,

    and even more so radio. These means of

    communication are much more widespread,

    accessible to the population and proven to be

    effective in configure quality educational actions.

    In any case, the global challenge must be to leave

    no one behind, in accordance with the provisions

    of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) of

    the 2030 Agenda of United Nations.

    As far as universities are concerned, beyond

    what many of them had in their strategic plans with

    forecasts for the future of online teaching, the

    reality is that very few of them really were

    prepared to urgently implement a fully digitized

    educational model (u-Multirank,2020). In hasty

    readings and knowledge of reality and the

    implementation of irreplaceable and, in many

    cases, little deliberate online systems, especially in

    European and American universities and also with

    the pioneering COVID experience of Chinese

    universities (Bao, 2020), could to point out some

    clues regarding the most relevant drawbacks found

    in these educational practices emergency and

    remote, which could serve to consider them, in

    case of new total closures or partial of educational

    facilities:

     Difficulty of reaching students who do not

    have connectivity or appropriate devices.

     Network saturation and low bandwidth,

    especially in institutions with large masses of

    students.

     Dropout or discouragement situations of

    students who show low concentration and

    persistence in online learning, offering very high

    density modules or units for long-term, or poorly

    motivating learning activities.

     Lack of student support and tutoring

    systems that motivate participation, permanence,

    support for the resolution of academic and

    psychological problems (Lozano-Díaz et al., 2020).

     Problems moving from the face-to-face

    image of the teacher, his gestures and his voice,

    live, to one remote situation, in which sometimes

    everything was left in the cold text.

     Cautions, resistance and even aversion of

    certain teaching groups to the use of technologies.

     Lack of technical support for face-to-face

    teachers unfamiliar with handling these

    technologies interactive.

     Synchronous or asynchronous presentation

    session instances were not properly combined.

     A more consolidated model of formative

    and continuous evaluation was lacking reduced the

    great difficulties of a massive final evaluation

    online, especially in institutions with large

    numbers of students.

     The different online evaluation models

    that met the criteria of reliable identification,

    quality, equality, equity, respect for privacy, data

    protection, strength of the technological

    infrastructures, etc

    In many cases, it was about over-turning

    what was being done in the classroom, it was

    considered an emergency teaching (Hodges et al.,

    2020) or, better, remote emergency education, this

    would include concepts such as teaching,

    instruction, learning. This had nothing to do with

    what would have been an education well-designed

    and implemented in a format of digital distance

    (Hodges et al., 2020). Besides that was not taken

    into account the tiredness factor referred to the

    synchronous replica, through the screen, of a face-

    to-face class, “Zoom fatigue” (Wiederhold, 2020).

    Naturally there will be those who will draw

    conclusions from this situation regarding the

    weaknesses of the distance education, without

    stopping to think:

    • that there was no planning,

    • that there were connectivity and equipment

    problems for many affected,

    Universitatea de Ştiinţele Vieții

    184

    • that there was no teacher training plan,

    • nor of preparation of the students with

    respect to the self-discipline and self-regulation of

    their work, more necessary in these environments.

    Also, for Romania case central and local

    authorities have thus been faced with new

    challenges, unprecedented in the last hundred

    years, to manage the educational process that

    traditionally involves communities of children and

    young people in the best possible physical

    distance, basic premise to limit the spread of the

    new virus (Qiu et al., 2020). To this is added the

    fact that the current school network in Romania

    inherits for the most part the one before 1990,

    characterized by overcrowded classes, especially in

    urban areas, where an average of between 30 and

    40 students study. Also, functional illiteracy places

    Romania on the penultimate place in the European

    Union because 42% of 15-years-old Romanian

    students fail to use the information acquired in

    school to solve their daily problems (Săgeată,

    2021).

    Although the last thirty years have made

    significant progress in terms of children’s rights,

    40% of Romania’s children still live in poverty or

    are at risk of social exclusion, one of the highest

    levels in the European Union. Major disparities

    persist between the national average and the lives

    of poor children in rural areas, Roma minority

    children and children with disabilities.

    About 400,000 children are still out of the

    education system. More Romanian children and

    young people leave school earlier than the

    European average, although in 2019 their number

    was at an all-time low of 15.7%. Moreover, 44% of

    15-year-olds scored below the minimum literacy

    level on the OECD PISA test.

    If we think about the close link between lack

    of education and lack of opportunities, the main

    objective becomes to make sure that all children go

    to school as much as possible, learn as well as they

    can and thus have a better chance of success in life.

    A large part of the solution is to give the

    vulnerable access to quality inclusive education,

    access until recently, that was situated on a

    downward trend.

    Although Romania has a wide range of

    internet connectivity, steps are still needed to

    ensure all resources and an integrated framework

    for access to quality education in

    digital era.

    Against the background of the public

    consultation, 3 levels of digitalization in education

    were identified:

    – management and administration,

    automation and anonymisation (records, electronic

    catalog, reports, checklists, record of attendance /

    absences, communication, track record, data

    anonymization/protection)

    – teaching activity: teaching-learning

    processes and assessment activities (both training,

    as well as the summative ones); counseling and

    guidance activities, psychological and socio-

    emotional support; extracurricular activities (clubs,

    non-formal activities); remediation and recovery;

    activities of promoting excellence and high

    performance;

    – and a cross-cutting level: communication

    and collaboration efficiency (at school /

    chancellery level, school-family relationship,

    relationships and partnerships: school – local

    government – NGO – environment business).

    An extensive study carried out at the

    beginning of the state of emergency, coordinated

    by a consortium formed from the University of

    Bucharest, „Alexandru Ioan Cuza” University of

    Iași, Western University rom Timișoara and the

    Institute of Educational Sciences offers some

    important findings. Participants in the study, both

    teachers and students complained that the use of

    new technologies shows significant difficulties.

    Both students and teachers said they were not used

    to use these tools in the teaching / learning process.

    Most students and teachers

    teachers acknowledged that they do not have

    sufficiently developed digital skills to could use

    online learning tools, or to be able to design and

    make enough of attractive to students.

    Organizational actors from whom students and

    teachers expect support as well as the resources

    these groups need are fundamental elements of any

    public policy analysis.

    The teachers declared, at the time of

    conducting the “Home School” study, that the

    school principal (35% of the recorded responses) is

    the main source of “guidance”, the Ministry (along

    with all other subordinate organizations, such as

    the School Inspectorates, Institute of Educational

    Sciences, Resource Centers and Educational

    Assistance, etc.) was nominated as a source of

    “guidance” by 25% of teachers surveyed, while

    “Colleagues” were a source of support for about

    23% of teachers.

    The resources that teachers accessed were:

    their own previous experience in use of online

    learning tools, cited by 82% of respondents. The

    personal experience is followed, in descending

    order of importance by: “various tutorials found

    online (78%), peer support groups such as

    Facebook teacher groups (77%), training programs

    in the field of ICT carried out through CCDs

    (60%), the portal opened by Ministry of Education

    on http://digital.educred.ro (60%), ideas for

    activities with digital support from

    http://digital.educred.ro/

    Lucrări Ştiinţifice – vol. 64(2)/2021, seria Agronomie

    185

    http://digitaledu.ro (59%), CRED workshops

    conducted by videoconference (57%), resources

    open educational programs collected by school

    inspectorates in the last three years (56%),

    programs training in the field of ICT carried out by

    NGOs / companies (50%), and eTwinning platform

    (47%).”

    Introduction in the initial psycho-

    pedagogical training programs of the disciplines

    for the integration of technology in the teaching-

    learning-assessment process is also mentioned. A

    little a bit late (Order of the Ministry of Education

    no. 4135 / 21.04.2020), however, given that since

    2014 the European Council has also concluded

    Recommends to the Member States of the

    European Union: The rapid spread of the

    instruments of digital learning and open

    educational resources also create the need for

    teachers to acquire a sufficient understanding of

    them in order to be able to develop digital skills

    and use them effectively and appropriately in

    teaching. These new tools can it also helps to

    ensure equal access to high-quality education for

    all.

    All this data suggests that it is not very

    realistic to start from the assumption that switching

    to teaching exclusively online can be done easily.

    Beyond the fact that it exists households that do

    not have internet access or a telephone signal, or

    do not have one computer / laptop / tablet / mobile

    phone, as well as a fairly high level of digital skills

    low, self-isolation at home and moving the

    educational process exclusively to the domestic

    space some generated and other complicated

    situations.

    CONCLUSIONS

    Certainly, during restrictions, solutions

    were provided at non-university levels very

    provisional that, although they will leave elements

    for reflection to adopt certain innovations, a large

    part of them will end once the crisis is over.

    However, at universitary level it will probably be

    different. The remote, digital, online and flexible

    modalities will be used in a very widespread once

    the pandemic is over.

    That there are institutions and teachers who

    are willing to return to the traditional face-to-face

    model, for course. But can it be doubted that, even

    among those who yearn for 100% presence, in the

    future their educational practices will be modulated

    and much more enriched, mediated or

    complemented, by the digital technologies?

    The impact of this pandemic and the

    concomitant economic crisis have generated a

    change in how, when and where student learning

    occurs (Fox, et al., 2020). Pedagogical renewal and

    innovation always recommended and, generally,

    postponed, we now have the great opportunity to

    become reality and gain in educational quality and

    equity. Systems are needed for the immediate

    future resilient educational institutions, with the

    capacity to respond to emergency situations and

    with safeguards for reduce inequalities that were

    aggravated as never before. In reality, COVID-19

    can occur as an accelerator of the transformation of

    higher education that will mean that online and

    flexible learning are guests they came to stay

    (Naffi, 2020).

    It is well known that an essential curricular

    variable of any educational process is evaluation.

    About her a great debate was established during

    the restrictions that still survives, on more suitable

    formulas to carry out evaluation strategies and

    techniques, taking into account current problems to

    implement a universal face-to-face assessment.

    Romania ranks 26th out of the 28 EU

    member states in the Economic Index and the

    Digital Society (EIDS) for 2020. Based on data

    prior to the pandemic, Romania’s performance was

    identical in four of the five measured EIDS

    dimensions. Romania has a poor performance in

    terms of digital public services and digital skills.

    During this period, “teaching-learning” has

    moved mainly in the online environment, and the

    challenges that schools in Romania faced were

    related to:

    ● Lack of predictability;

    ● Heterogeneous school network, with a

    strong digital gap between schools;

    ● Insufficiently developed digital skills for

    the efficient organization of the teaching process in

    the online environment;

    ● Reduced access to technology and reduced

    internet connectivity;

    ● The reduced possibilities of families in

    providing support to the beneficiaries of education,

    children, for participation in online lessons.

    At present, the integrated approach to all

    aspects of the digitization of public services,

    including in the field of education is ensured by the

    provisions of the National Strategy for the Digital

    Agenda Romania 2020. Although Romania has a

    wide range of internet connectivity, steps are still

    needed to ensure all resources and an integrated

    framework for access to quality education in

    digital era.

    REFERENCES

    Aguilar-Gordón F. & Chamba A. P. (2019).

    Reflexiones sobre la Filosofía de la Tecnología
    en los procesos educativos. Conrado.
    Cienfuegos, XV(70), 109-119.

    Educație digitală

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    and Strategies to Overcome them, 79-104.
    https://doi.org/10.17583/rise.2020.5925

    Bao, W. (2020). COVID ‐19 y la enseñanza en línea en

    la educación superior: un estudio de caso de la
    Universidad de Pekín. Human Behavior and
    Emerging Technologies, 2(2), 113-115.
    https://doi.org/10.1002/hbe2.191

    Dreesen, T., Akseer, S., Brossard, M., Dewan, P.,
    Giraldo, J. P., Kamei, A., Mizunoya, S., y
    Ortiz, S. (2020). Promising practices for

    equitable remote learning Emerging lessons
    from COVID-19 education responses in 127
    countries. Innocenti Research Brief. UNICEF
    https://cutt.ly/ufffokG

    Fox, K., Bryant, G., Lin, N., y Srinivasa, N. (2020).
    Time for Class – COVID-19 Edition Part 1: A
    National Survey of Faculty during COVID-19.
    Tyton Partners and Every Learner Everywhere,
    July 8, 32.
    https://www.everylearnereverywhere.org/resour
    ces/time-for-class-covid-19-edition/

    http://conrado.ucf.edu.cu/index.php/conrado
    Lozano-Díaz, A., Fernández-Prados, J. S., Figueredo

    Canosa, V., y Martínez Martínez, A. M.
    (2020). Impactos del confinamiento por el
    COVID-19 entre universitarios: Satisfacción
    Vital, Resiliencia y Capital Social Online,

    International Journal of Sociology of Education,
    Special Issue: COVID-19 Crisis and
    Socioeducative Inequalities

    Martí Castro, I. (2003). Aprendizaje-Virtual. En

    Diccionario Enciclopédico de Educación. Grupo
    Editorial Ceac S. A. (LEXUS).

    Naffi, N. (2020). Disruption in and by Centres for
    Teaching and Learning During the COVID-19

    Pandemic: Leading the Future of Higher:

    L’Observatoire Internationale sur les Impacts
    Sociétaux de l’IA et du Numerique and the
    Government of Québec, https://cutt.ly/6fQZibh

    Research and Markets (2019). Online Education

    Market & Global Forecast, by End User,
    Learning Mode (Self-Paced, Instructor Led),
    Technology, Country, Company.
    https://cutt.ly/QdHHPcI

    Săgeată, R. (2021), School in pandemic. Challenges
    and uncertainties. The Case of Romania (Part II),
    Geographic, Landmarks, 16 (1) (in print)

    Singh V., y Thurman A. (2019). How many ways can

    we define online learning? A systematic
    literature review of definitions of online learning
    (1988-2018). American journal of distance

    education, 33(4), 289–306.
    Https://doi.org/10.1080/08923647.2019.166302

    U-Multirank (2020). About 60% of universities reported
    online learning provisions in their strategic
    planning pre-COVID-19, but only few appeared
    to be prepared for quick shift to full online
    programmes. https://cutt.ly/VfGDArk

    UN (2020a). Policy Brief: Education during COVID-19
    and beyond (August 2020). United Nations.

    https://cutt.ly/bdHJEhX
    UN (2020b). Policy Brief: The World of Work and

    COVID-19 (June, 2020). United Nations.
    https://cutt.ly/6fpDKHF

    Wiederhold, B.K. (2020). Connecting Through
    Technology During the Coronavirus Disease
    2019 Pandemic: Avoiding ‘‘Zoom Fatigue’’.
    Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social
    Networking, 23(7).
    https://doi.org/10.1089/cyber.2020.29188.bkw

    https://doi.org/10.17583/rise.2020.5925

    https://doi.org/10.1002/hbe2.191

    https://cutt.ly/ufffokG

    Time for Class: COVID-19 Edition Part 3

    Time for Class: COVID-19 Edition Part 3

    http://conrado.ucf.edu.cu/index.php/conrado

    https://cutt.ly/QdHHPcI

    https://doi.org/10.1080/08923647.2019.166302

    https://cutt.ly/VfGDArk

    https://cutt.ly/bdHJEhX

    https://cutt.ly/6fpDKHF

    https://doi.org/10.1089/cyber.2020.29188.bkw

    Copyright of Agronomy Series of Scientific Research / Lucrari Stiintifice Seria Agronomie is
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    articles for individual use.

    2

    Assignment

    Rough Draft Review Process Evaluation

    [WLOs: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5] [CLOs: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5]

    Purpose: The primary goal of this weekly assignment is to enable you to understand the revision process and revise your paper with the help of a writing specialist.

    Prepare:

    Step 1: Prepare a shortened version of your Final Paper (at least four pages) by including the following:

    · Introduction paragraph and thesis statement you developed for your Week 3 Assignment.

    · Background information of the global societal issue you have chosen.

    · Brief argument supporting at least two solutions to the global societal issue.

    · Conclusion paragraph.

    · Must document any information used from at least five scholarly sources in APA style as outlined in the University of Arizona Global Campus Writing Center’s 

    Citing Within Your Paper
     (Links to an external site.)

     Note that you will need at least eight scholarly sources for your Final Paper in Week 5.

    Step 2: After you have completed a rough draft of your paper, submit that draft to the University of Arizona Global Campus Writing Center by using the instructions found in the 

    Paper Review
     (Links to an external site.)

     page. Your paper will be returned within 24 hours, so give yourself enough time to complete and submit it prior to the due date.

    Reflect: Carefully review the summary feedback found in the email from the tutor and the margin comments that you see on your returned paper. Consider each of the suggestions provided to help you to revise your paper.

    Write:

    What You Need to Submit to Waypoint:

    · Upload the document that contains the feedback from the Writing Center specialist.

    · Submit the journal assignment answering the following questions in at least 400 words:

    · Identify the top three issues your writing specialist focused on in your rough draft (e.g., paragraph structure, proper use of quotations, thesis statement, etc.).

    · In what ways were those issues surprising?

    · Describe what you learned from some of the feedback your writing specialist provided as explanations.

    · Was this feedback helpful?

    · Evaluate the usefulness of the paper review tool.

    · In what ways did this activity improve your academic writing skills?

    · Will you use the University of Arizona Global Campus Writing Center to review your work in the future? Why or why not?

    · Identify Writing Center 

    Video Tutorials
     (Links to an external site.)

     that you find most useful and explain why. Also, identify tutorial(s) you found least useful and explain why.

    The journal part of the assignment does not need to be formatted in APA style; however, correct grammar, spelling, and punctuation is required.

    Carefully review the 

    Grading Rubric
     (Links to an external site.)

     for the criteria that will be used to evaluate your journal.

    HELPFUL TIPS FROM WEEK 3 THIS IS THE ASSIGNMENT YOU DID

    Introduction, Thesis Statement, and Annotated Bibliography

    A lack of education is a huge global challenge. Many children, particularly those from low-income families do not have access to quality and proper education. According to a 2018 report, over 250 million children and teenagers are not in school. These include over 130 million children in upper secondary school, approximately 60 million children in lower secondary school, and around 60 million children in primary school (UNESCO, 2018). Reports also indicate that over 700 million adults have no education, which means they do not have the ability to enhance their living standards and the life of their children. Many children are out of school due to the lack of competent teachers, adequate facilities, community involvement, and parental support. A lack of education can have detrimental effects on children. It can contribute to unemployment, poor health, shorter lifespan, gender inequality, poverty, and exploitation, among other effects. While several approaches can help solve the issue of lack of education, improving access to education for children living in poverty can help fight the issue at the global level. 

    Annotated Bibliography

    Wanti, M., Wesselink, R., Biemans, H., & Brok, P. D. (2022). Determining factors of access and equity in higher education: A systematic review. 
    Equity in Education & Society, 27526461221092429.

    This article focuses on the significance of improving access to higher education. According to Wanti et al. (2022), higher education has significant effects on the country’s social-cultural, political, and economic development, as well as, global competitiveness and sustainability. This means that higher education benefits university students individually and the country in general. Sustainable Development Goal 4 (SDG 4) emphasizes this importance. This goal aims to create equitable, inclusive, and quality education for every person. 

    Wanti and colleagues argue that in most countries, social class determines if a person will gain a high education at some point in their lives. This is specifically evident in developing nations, where students from low-income families are less likely to access higher education. Still, it is evident in developed nations, where students from low socioeconomic backgrounds are less likely to be admitted to prestigious fields of study and institutions. In this article, access is defined as a stage where a student gets registered for a school program. Access is, therefore, more than a personal need, molded by objective aspects (including the government policy, structures of race and gender, and economic conditions), as well as, subjective aspects (including motivation to succeed from family members and hard work). 

    Mukminin, A., & Habibi, A. (2021). Promoting Access and Success for Disadvantaged Students in Indonesian Basic Education: Social Justice in Education. In 
    Research Anthology on Instilling Social Justice in the Classroom (pp. 976-986). IGI Global.

    This article examines ways to improve access to education for disadvantaged students. According to Mukminin & Habibi (2021), education is an instrument used to facilitate the development of learners’ social, personal, and intellectual abilities. Therefore, the purpose of a school is to offer all learners, despite their ability, social class, ethnicity, race, and other factors, a high-quality, equal, and equitable education. Offering such education is important in creating a well-functioning and highly integrated. It also help to maintain harmony, social cohesion, and social order in a democratic and modern society. 

    Mukminin & Habibi (2021) claim that failure to offer quality education for all learners will prove that society stick together depending on the ability of top members to inflict their values and wills on subordinates through manipulation, subordination, and force. According to Mukminin & Habibi (2021), the lack of access to education in rural and urban areas will interfere with the ability of the disadvantaged children to develop their personal, social, and intellectual potential. This can also lead them to be powerless in modern society. A large number of school-age children are not able to access basic education. This means they will not have the opportunity to acquire the basic knowledge, moral values, and attitudes needed to operate in present society. According to the authors, the government should ensure every student has the resources needed to learn and reach their full potential. That way, they will become productive members of society.

    Ilie, S., Rose, P., & Vignoles, A. (2021). Understanding higher education access: Inequalities and early learning in low and lower‐middle‐income countries. 
    British Educational Research Journal, 
    47(5), 1237-1258.

    This article examines inequalities in access to higher education in middle and low-income countries. According to Ilie et al. (2021), access to higher education in middle and low-income countries is going through extraordinary growth. This indicates an increase in primary school access, as well as, an improvement in secondary school enrollment. Primary education and partly secondary education have influenced most global development efforts. This is somewhat strengthened by the incorporation of universal primary education into Millennium Development Goals. On the contrary, higher education has not received much policy attention. The integration of higher education in SDG 4 shows that rapid growth in higher education enrollment has been accompanied by inequalities in access. According to SDG Target 4.3, “by 2030 ensure equal access for all women and men to affordable quality technical, vocational and tertiary education, including university.” However, growth in higher education access is not happening consistently across nations and within nations. Ilie and colleagues point out that wealth and gender determine whether young people can access higher education in most middle and low-income countries. 

    Oni, J. O., Jegede, A. A., Osisami, R. A., Illo, C. O., Lawal, R. O., & Fabinu, F. A. (2016). Enhancing access to and quality of basic education through head teachers’ leadership functions. 
    International journal of educational administration and policy studies, 
    8(4), 33-36.

    The article addresses ways to increase the quality of and access to basic education. According to the article, educational leaders play a vital role in the success of education. But for success to be achieved, children must have access to basic education. According to Oni et al. (2016), having a basic education means having numeracy, literacy, and life skills needed to succeed in life. Success at the lower level of education will influence success at higher levels of education. Oni and colleagues (2016) define access as admittance and availability. Access is also defined as the right or opportunity to do something or use something. Access to basic education is, therefore, defined as the rights or opportunity that a student has to register or enroll for basic education. Quality, on the other hand, is defined as the capacity of something to serve or perform what it is designed or meant to serve.

    Arkorful, V. E., Basiru, I., Anokye, R., Latif, A., Agyei, E. K., Hammond, A., … & Abdul-Rahaman, S. (2019). Equitable access and inclusiveness in basic education: Roadblocks to sustainable development goals. 
    International Journal of Public Administration, 43(3).

    The article talks about obstacles to basic education access. According to the authors, international organizations, such as the United Nations (UN) have significantly demonstrated firm support for equity goals. These organizations have also supported measures to uplift disadvantaged groups all over the globe. According to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, education is a basic human right. This is a clear indication that education play a key role in people’s lives and is a major component in the social and economic development of a country (Arkorful et al., 2019). The MDGs (Millennium Development Goals) commit world leaders to fight against poverty, disease, hunger, and most importantly illiteracy. The Sustainable Development Goals also call to actions to end poverty, preserve the planet, and ensure universal access to education. Although efforts have been made to ensure access, inclusiveness, and equity, dreadful challenges to basic education access are still evident, especially in rural areas in developing countries.

    References

    UNESCO. (2018). Out-of-School Children and Youth. Retrieved from:

    http://uis.unesco.org/en/topic/out-school-children-and-youth

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