Neglecting Students’ Socio-emotional Skills Magnified Learning Losses During the Pandemic: Experimental Evidence from Brazil

66 Pages Posted: 4 Nov 2020 Last revised: 19 Sep 2022

See all articles by Guilherme Lichand

Guilherme Lichand

University of Zurich - Department of Economics

Julien Christen

University of Zurich

Eppie van Egeraat

University of Zurich, Department of Economics, Students

Date Written: September 13, 2022

Abstract

Did the dramatic learning losses from remote learning in the context of COVID-19 stem at least partly from schools having overlooked students’ socio-emotional skills – such as their ability to self-regulate emotions, their mental models, motivation, and grit – during the emergency transition to remote learning? We study this question using a cluster-randomized control trial with 18, 256 high-school students across 87 schools in the State of Goiás, Brazil. The intervention sent behavioral nudges through text messages to students or their caregivers, targeting their socio-emotional skills during remote learning. Here we show that these messages significantly increased standardized test scores relative to the control group, preventing 7.5% of learning losses in math and 24% in Portuguese, consistent with the hypothesis that neglecting students’ socio-emotional skills magnified learning losses during the pandemic.

Keywords: Socio-emotional Skills; Remote Learning; COVID-19; Learning Losses

JEL Classification: D91, I18, I24, I25

Suggested Citation

Lichand, Guilherme and Christen, Julien and van Egeraat, Eppie, Neglecting Students’ Socio-emotional Skills Magnified Learning Losses During the Pandemic: Experimental Evidence from Brazil (September 13, 2022). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3724386 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3724386

Guilherme Lichand (Contact Author)

University of Zurich - Department of Economics ( email )

Zürich
Switzerland

Julien Christen

University of Zurich ( email )

Rämistrasse 71
Zürich, CH-8006
Switzerland

Eppie Van Egeraat

University of Zurich, Department of Economics, Students ( email )

Zurich
Switzerland

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