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Project description

Learning in the time of Corona

The project examines inequality in learning behavior as a consequence of the Covid-19 pandemic by drawing on unique digital data sources. Using real-time information on children’s digital learning behavior before, during, and after school closures, the project investigates the impact of the different periods with school closures on inequalities in learning behavior.

Beyond the scope of the pandemic, the project also deals with broader questions concerning the role of schools in reducing inequality in academic outcomes. In this perspective, the school closures serve as a counterfactual scenario, where students are out of school, which can be compared to what happens when students are in school.

The project places special emphasis on the development of reading and numeracy skills, as these are central human capital skills that are important for future life outcomes.

To this end, we make use of two data sources. The primary data source is BookBites (https://bookbites.com), a widely used reading app at Danish compulsory schools, which can provide detailed information into children’s reading behavior. In addition, we plan to use data on log-on patterns from the digital mathematics app, MatematikFessor (https://www.matematikfessor.dk), providing relevant information on the use of the platform.

Data sources

The primary data source is BookBites (https://bookbites.com), a widely used reading app at Danish compulsory schools, which can provide detailed real-time information into children's reading behavior. See two publications that also draw on BookBites data:

  • Reimer, David, Emil Smith, Ida Gran Andersen, and Bent Sortkær. 2021. “What Happens When Schools Shut down? Investigating Inequality in Students’ Reading Behavior during Covid-19 in Denmark.” Research in Social Stratification and Mobility 71 (November 2020). doi:10.1016/j.rssm.2020.100568.
  • Sortkær, Bent, Emil Smith, David Reimer, Stefan Oehmcke, and Ida Gran Andersen. 2021. “Both Sides of the Story: Comparing Student-Level Data on Reading Performance from Administrative Registers to Application Generated Data from a Reading App.” EPJ Data Science 10 (1): 44. doi:10.1140/epjds/s13688-021-00300-y.

To learn about the role of teachers, we plan to conduct a survey study of teachers in selected municipalities that have purchased the BookBites license. The teacher survey will cover topics such as their use of BookBites in teaching and homework, both during school closures and prospectively.

Finally, we will draw on data on students’ log-on patterns to MatematikFessor. MatematikFessor is a widely used digital mathematics learning platform. This data will provide relevant information on the use of the platform.

All data will be treated according to GDPR. There will not be published data or results where individual students, teachers, or schools can be identified. Data is anonymized and kept at the secure servers of Statistics Denmark.