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Uneven impacts of COVID-19 on the attendance rates of secondary school students from different socioeconomic backgrounds in Australia: a quasi-experimental analysis of administrative data

Citation

Tomaszewski, W and Zajac, T and Rudling, E and te Riele, K and McDaid, L and Western, M, Uneven impacts of COVID-19 on the attendance rates of secondary school students from different socioeconomic backgrounds in Australia: a quasi-experimental analysis of administrative data, Australian Journal of Social Issues pp. 1-19. ISSN 0157-6321 (2022) [Refereed Article]


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DOI: doi:10.1002/ajs4.219

Abstract

This paper contributes to the growing body of research that demonstrates uneven impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on educational outcomes of students from different socioeconomic status (SES) backgrounds. We evaluate the early impacts of COVID-19 on student attendance in secondary school and show how these impacts depend on students' SES. We employ a quasi-experimental design, using difference-in-differences (DiD) estimation extended to incorporate third-order differences over time between low-SES and other students, and pre- versus during-COVID-19, leveraging robust administrative data extracted from the registers of the Tasmanian Department of Education. Using data from multiple cohorts of secondary school students in government schools in Tasmania (N=14,135), we find that while the attendance rates were similar pre- and during-COVID-19 for high-SES students, there was a significant drop in attendance rates during COVID-19 among socioeconomically disadvantaged students, demonstrating the more pronounced impacts of COVID-19 for these students. The findings demonstrate that even "relatively short" lockdowns, as those in Tasmania in 2020 (30-40 days of home learning), can significantly affect the learning experiences of students from socioeconomically disadvantaged backgrounds. We discuss the implications of this for future pandemic planning in educational policy and practice and how this needs to be addressed in Australia's COVID-19 recovery.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:COVID-19; inequality; school attendance; school closures; secondary education; social disadvantage
Research Division:Education
Research Group:Education policy, sociology and philosophy
Research Field:Sociology of education
Objective Division:Education and Training
Objective Group:Schools and learning environments
Objective Field:Equity and access to education
UTAS Author:Rudling, E (Dr Emily Rudling)
UTAS Author:te Riele, K (Professor Kitty te Riele)
ID Code:152723
Year Published:2022
Web of Science® Times Cited:1
Deposited By:Peter Underwood Centre for Educational Attainment
Deposited On:2022-08-23
Last Modified:2022-09-13
Downloads:0

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