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Students Detail Pandemic Challenges in New ACT Research


This week, we’re sharing some key findings from a recent ACT Research report about the challenges students experienced during the first 12 months of the pandemic, from April 2020-April 2021. Stay tuned each day this week to learn more about what students told us.

Students faced various hurdles on their path to education and career success pre-pandemic, and the pandemic likely compounded existing challenges that disproportionately affected students from Latinx, Asian, and Black populations.

In a new report, ACT found that the top five problems and challenges experienced by students in the last 12 months pertained to:
  • the health of someone close to them;
  • family;
  • finances;
  • microaggressions; and
  • discrimination.
Further, 57% of responding students reported at least one challenge in the corresponding 12 months during the pandemic, and many students reported experiencing more than one challenge. Overall, students reported 1.5 challenges, on average.

As educators, school leaders, and families grapple to understand the pandemic’s toll on students, it is important to consider that students’ problems and challenges were almost certainly compounded as a result. In addition, we have learned that students experienced increased challenges to their mental health and academic progress during the pandemic.

ACT is committed to providing timely, key insights to education stakeholders as we work together to make data-informed decisions that best support successful student outcomes.