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Topics / Family & Community Engagement

Students Report Widespread Obstacles to Remote Learning

Seventy percent of students surveyed by YouthTruth reported facing at least one hindrance to virtual learning

As educators and political leaders make critical decisions about how to safely reopen schools this fall, it is essential that they listen to students and account for their needs and concerns.

According to Students Weigh In: Learning and Well-Being During COVID-19, a new national survey conducted by Carnegie Corporation of New York grantee YouthTruth, many students struggled with remote learning in the spring of 2020. Of the more than 20,000 students (in grades 5–12) across nine states who were surveyed during May and June of this year, just half said their teachers gave them assignments that really helped them learn, and only 39 percent said they learned a lot every day. Additionally, 70 percent of students reported facing at least one obstacle to their virtual learning. Of those, 64 percent reported facing distractions at home, and 50 percent reported feeling depressed, stressed, or anxious. On average, Black and Latinx students faced a greater number of obstacles than did white and Asian students.

Read the full YouthTruth national survey Students Weigh In: Learning and Well-Being During Covid-19.

Students’ relationships with their teachers was a bright spot among the survey results, but at the same time, many kids and teens reported a loss in their sense of belonging.

“There is a critical opportunity now to listen to and learn from students’ lived experiences during this unprecedented time,” according to Jen Wilka, executive director of YouthTruth. “As we navigate the challenges ahead and adapt to new learning models, student voice and equity must be central to the way school is reimagined.”


Watch YouthTruth's webinar to learn more about the national findings, how education leaders are responding, and how to help put student voice at the center of plans for 2020–21.  

TOP A teacher explaining fractions — virtually — to a young student at home during the COVID-19 quarantine (Credit: Imgorthand via Getty Images)