Year of Publication



Martin School of Public Policy and Administration

Date Available


Degree Name

Master of Public Policy

Committee Chair

Dr. Rajeev Darolia

Committee Member

Dr. David Agrawal

Committee Member

Dr. Taha Hameduddin

Committee Member

Ms. Brigitte Blom

Executive Summary

In 2020, most United States (U.S.) schools closed abruptly. Due to the pandemic, students and teachers were affected in multiple ways. Nearly three years post-pandemic, it is evident students lost in academic achievement. Lower academic performance may impact the future economy and labor force due to lower productivity. Therefore, understanding the causal impact COVID-19 had on academic achievement is vital to develop policy that will help mitigate the long-term impact. In this capstone, I will estimate the size and direction of the impact COVID-19 had on Mathematics and Reading skills for grade 8 students in Kentucky. Using a Difference-in-Differences (DiD) model, I found that overall there was 21% and 15% more eighth-grade students in 2022 (they were in grade six in March 2020) assessed at the novice level for Mathematics and Reading. Further, the black-and-white achievement gap widened by 10% post-pandemic.



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