The U.S. Department of Education will expand the limited data it is currently collecting on student experiences in schools during the COVID-19 pandemic, leaving the door open to add new questions to its representative survey of schools as the public health crisis is evolving.
The survey will build on the ministry’s existing instrument, which has largely focused on the functioning of schools, asking more questions about how students learn and what precautions schools take.
Consistent and comparable data has been a concern for educators, public health officials and researchers since schools were closed to slow transmission of the virus in March 2020.
Through its School Pulse Panel, the Department of Education plans to collect data on âsubjects such as the mode of teaching offered; number of registrations of sub-groups of students using various teaching methods; learning loss mitigation strategies; mitigation strategies for safe and healthy schools; special education services; use of technology; use of federal relief funds; and personnel information, âthe agency said in a notice to be published Tuesday in the Federal Register.
Nationally representative data will be collected through a monthly survey of district staff and school principals from a sample of 1,200 elementary, middle and secondary schools throughout the 2021-2022 school year. .
This dataset will significantly expand the storage of official federal data on the impact of the pandemic on schools and students, providing a tool for policymakers and a means to help track the effects of the crisis for years to come.
No federal agency has collected data on COVID-19 and schools for up to a year after the start of the pandemic, when the Department of Education launched a monthly survey of 3,500 schools enrolling 4th grade students and 3,500 schools enrolling 8th grade students, in part to track President Joe’s school reopening goals Biden during his first months in office. He asked a small list of questions, primarily focusing on whether a school was open with full-time in-person education, with a hybrid of online and in-person education, or entirely remote.
That survey, and the new issues the Education Department outlined in its notice this week, were designed to comply with a January 2021 executive order from Biden., which asked the agency to collect “the data necessary to fully understand the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on students and educators, including data on the state of in-person learning.”
“Given the high demand for data collection during this period, the content of the survey may change on a quarterly basis,” said the opinion.
The agency will accept public comments on the contents of the investigation for 30 days after the notice is posted in the Federal Register.