ATLANTA—Georgia State University’s Metro Atlanta Policy Lab for Education (MAPLE) is conducting rapid-response research with three of its metro-Atlanta school district partners to understand the individual-level learning impacts of the pandemic on students. This rigorous research is intended to inform districts’ decision-making, budget planning and remediation strategies.
Georgia State University economist and MAPLE faculty director Tim Sass leads the project.
“We are producing the first evidence on the learning impacts of the pandemic on actual students in Georgia, and ours is currently one of only two such multi-district studies to estimate impacts on student achievement in the U.S.,” Sass said. “Understanding the magnitude of effects on student learning will help districts determine which interventions will be sufficient to counteract the losses and what resources will be required.”
School districts can use this evidence to target interventions to students with the greatest need. Georgia schools are projected to receive $4.25 billion in funding from the American Rescue Plan Act, some of which can be targeted to these efforts.
MAPLE will release its learning impact findings in May. Following its release, MAPLE will conduct and release additional analyses to understand evidence-based remediation strategies, bright spots, lessons learned and the role of student engagement through the COVID-19 pandemic throughout 2021.
“The goal of MAPLE’s comprehensive research strategy is not only to understand which students have been most impacted by school closures and virtual learning but also to understand ways in which school districts can best serve students’ academic progress through and past the pandemic,” Sass said. “We commend our MAPLE partner districts for their boldness and willingness to embrace an evidence-based approach that will ultimately help kids who have the greatest needs and are excited that our results are already being used to inform decisions.”
MAPLE is one of three research units within the Georgia Policy Labs, which develops mutually beneficial partnerships with government agencies and school districts to generate data-driven insights that inspire public policies that lift children, students, and families—especially those experiencing vulnerabilities.
“The MAPLE research-practice partnership (RPP) is unique because it puts our school district partners at the center. These long-term relationships allow us to listen to their most pressing needs and turn around results fast enough for them to inform critical decisions about how to allocate resources and formulate programs to serve those children who need them most to thrive,” said Maggie Reeves, GPL’s senior director.
Georgia Policy Labs
Tim Sass is an applied micro-economist whose research focuses on the economics of education. Specific areas of interest include teacher labor supply, the measurement of teacher quality and school choice. He is also the faculty director of the Metro Atlanta Policy Lab for Education in the Georgia Policy Labs. He holds the W.J. Usery Chair of the American Workplace.