Model & Strategy

Vandalia is a school district in rural Illinois. Data was gathered from students attending elementary, middle, and high school in the Vandalia school district to evaluate the effect of COVID on student academic performance. Vandalia is a participating school district in the Illinois State GEAR UP grant. 

Our Impact

Vela applied projection models to assess how loss of class time during COVID 19 impacted students' testing achievement


Projection models using past academic performance were developed to forecast a student’s anticipated academic achievement that would have occurred in the absence of COVID-19. These projections were then compared to realized scores during the pandemic to estimate the learning impact COVID-19.

Results revealed that collectively all elementary grade levels (excluding 1st grade) fell behind their projected achievement with students rarely meeting or exceeded their predicted achievement. This impact was observed to be worse among 3rd and 4th grade math performance. Individual student characteristics were also examined, though the results revealed few significant differences among students groups suggesting that the learning impact was equally distributed. 

Findings from the report can be used to inform schools of the impact students have suffered as a result of the pandemic, and guide remediation strategies to get them back on track toward educational achievement.

Insight: Overall it was rare for students to exceed or even match their projected quintile achievement, which suggests that COVID had an impact on student academic performance