Understanding the Impact of The COVID‑19 Pandemic on Academic Achievement in Ontario- A Population-Based Cohort Study

Freeman, Sloane | $150,000

Ontario Unity Health Toronto 2021 CIHR Operating Grant

Education is one of the most important modifiable social determinants of health. Improving academic achievement has been associated with better overall long-term educational attainment. Greater educational attainment associates with better health (greater control of chronic illness, less obesity and improved diet), and longevity. The COVID‑19 pandemic and school closures have disrupted primary and secondary education for Ontario students. The impact of the pandemic may have been worse among students facing sociodemographic barriers and educational needs. The objectives of this study are: 1) To provide novel information on the impacts of the COVID‑19 pandemic on academic achievement among Ontario secondary students, and 2) To disseminate a novel, interactive, electronic platform for knowledge users (the Province of Ontario’s Education Quality and Accountability Office (EQAO),educators, school board members), to share information on the impact of the COVID‑19 pandemic on academic achievement. The platform will also be available to the general public. An integrated knowledge mobilization approach (iKMb) using population level data, in partnership with EQAO, will be conducted to achieve our research aims. As part of this approach, knowledge users will inform the project from start to finish. iKMb is the ideal approach in understanding and addressing the impacts of the COVID‑19 pandemic on academic achievement; it gives the broader educational community the evidence to support the implementation of educational recommendations designed to mitigate the impact of the COVID‑19 pandemic on Ontario students. Since education is among the most important modifiable determinants of health, understanding the impact of the COVID‑19 pandemic on academic achievement is an important step in mitigating the impacts of the pandemic on children’s future health.

With funding from the Government of Canada

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