Learning Loss and Students’ Social Origins During the Covid-19 Pandemic in Italy

The aim of this paper is twofold. First, it is intended to establish the intensity of learning loss in reading and mathematics experienced in Italy by fifth, eighth and thirteenth graders because of school closures owing to the Covid-19 pandemic. Second, it aims to demonstrate whether school closures have or have not affected the educational inequalities associated with the social position of the students’ families, their geographic area of residence, their migrant status and their high school track. To estimate these two possible effects, we exploit INVALSI data collected in school years 2018/2019 and 2020/2021 and rely on a counterfactual approach based on coarsened exact matching, where students belonging to the 2020/21 cohort represent the treated group and those of the 2018/19 cohort make up the control group. Our results indicate that the learning loss is definitely severe among students attending grade thirteen and eight, while it is less pronounced and involves only mathematics among fifth graders. Moreover, according to our hypotheses, the intensity of the learning loss turns out to be substantially the same across social strata of students’ origins and their remaining ascriptive traits.



Publication number: Working Paper 2022-03
Date: 06/2022
JEL Classification: I21, I24
  • Learning loss; social inequalities; Covid-19; Italy.
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