Educational Experiences of U.S. Children During the 2020–2021 School Year in the Context of the COVID-19 Pandemic

Rachelle M. Johnson, Callie W. Little, Jeffrey A. Shero, Wilhelmina van Dijk, La Tasha R. Holden, Mia C. Daucourt, Cynthia U. Norris, Colleen M. Ganley, Jeanette Taylor, Sara A. Hart

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic is a historic event impacting children around the globe. Prior research on the educational experiences of children during the COVID-19 pandemic focused almost exclusively on spring 2020. This article extends this literature past the initial shock of spring 2020, capturing the first full school year (2020–2021) during the COVID-19 pandemic. This registered report study utilized a national sample of 1,666 United States twins in kindergarten through 12th grade from 43 states to provide the current descriptive report of children’s educational experiences during this time, as reported by their parents. Specifically, we reported on school format, parents’ role in education, parent–teacher interactions, schoolwork struggles, technology access, and school services. About half of children attended in-person schooling, with many children switching from online to in-person throughout the school year. Parents saw the pandemic as a risk to their children’s education. During the 2020–2021 school year of the pandemic, parents felt they had a larger role in their children’s education and were less satisfied in their interactions with teachers than what they experienced during the prepandemic part of the 2019–2020 school year. Children experienced more schoolwork struggles than they had in previous years, and this was similar across age groups. For most constructs, results were equivalent across age group, but parents of younger children tended to provide more schoolwork help. Overall, this article highlights the disruptions in their educational environments that children continued to experience through the first full school year (2020–2021) of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalDevelopmental psychology
StateAccepted/In press - 2024


  • children
  • coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic
  • education
  • families

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Demography
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


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