Lucrecia Santibañez: Distractions at Home Contribute to Pandemic Learning Loss

Unreliable connectivity and technology, caring for family members among hindrances to engagement in remote learning environment.

UCLA Associate Professor of Education Lucrecia Santibañez was recently interviewed by CapRadio on the reasons that young students are missing school during the pandemic, including issues with internet connectivity, lack of appropriate learning space at home, or taking care of family members who are ill. 

“People are in situations where they sometimes have to go take Zoom in their car, or just get outside their home, because there’s a lot going on there,” Professor Santibañez said in the article.  “So, there’s just a lot of distractions.” 

Last fall, Santibañez co-authored a study, “The Effects of Absenteeism on Academic and Social-Emotional Outcomes: Lessons for COVID-19” for Policy Analysis for California Education (PACE). The study revealed that just a few weeks of missing school can result in lower test scores, particularly in math, greater negative effects on middle school students, and detrimental effects on social-emotional development, which affects future student success.

“Summer enrichment and remediation opportunities are going to be important,” noted Santibañez in the article. “Tutoring has been proven to be highly effective…maybe small group tutoring or one-on-one tutoring.” 

Professor Santibañez’s research focus encompasses educational equity, quality, and access for low-income and linguistic minority students in the United States and Mexico; the impact of restrictive language policies on bilingual teacher supply and preparation; and teacher preparation and support for teachers of English learners. Her recent work includes a co-authored research brief on, “English Learners: Charting Their Experiences and Mapping Their Futures in California Schools,” for Getting Down to Facts II, a PACE project.

Visit these links to view Santibañez’s comments on the CapRadio website and her research brief for PACE on “English Learners: Charting Their Experiences and Mapping Their Futures in California Schools.”