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How Has the Pandemic Affected Students with Disabilities? A Review of the Evidence to Date

This report is part of a series that aims to provide a definitive account of the best available evidence on how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected America’s students.

The Center on Reinventing Public Education compiled hundreds of studies and convened panels of experts to interpret what the data show. Three initial reports assess what we know to date about the pandemic’s effects on students’ academic progress, its effects on their mental health and social-emotional well-being, and its impact on students with disabilities. We will update these assessments and add more topics over the coming year as new data become available.

We aim to present a coherent baseline of what we know, don’t know, and need to know at this stage of the pandemic. These reports are designed to help system leaders, community leaders, policymakers, researchers, philanthropies, the media, and others to define ambitious goals and clear metrics that ensure our education system meets every student’s needs over the coming years.

The series of papers will culminate in the release of CRPE’s first annual Profile of the American Student. The report will provide a rigorous and nuanced assessment of 1) how extensive student needs and inequities are across a variety of dimensions, 2) how student needs vary across different dimensions and what that implies for policy and practice, and 3) what promising solutions and innovations are emerging to meet students’ needs.

In future years, these reports will track progress toward repaying every student the educational opportunities they are owed after this traumatic and disruptive period. Our goal is to provide an ongoing assessment of student needs and a look forward toward restitution and recovery.

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