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IES Grant

Title: COVID-19 Adapted Schooling and Adolescents' Academic and Socioemotional Adjustment
Center: NCER Year: 2022
Principal Investigator: Wang, Ming-Te Awardee: University of Pittsburgh
Program: Social and Behavioral Context for Academic Learning      [Program Details]
Award Period: 2 years (09/01/2022 – 08/31/2024) Award Amount: $892,623
Type: Exploration Award Number: R305A220236
Description:

Purpose: Adolescents' daily lives have been dramatically disrupted by COVID-19-related school closures and crisis-adapted educational arrangements (i.e., socially distanced in-person, hybrid, and remote learning models). Because schools serve as a primary socialization context for supporting youth's academic growth and socioemotional competence through interactions with adults and peers, the extended transition to COVID-adapted learning models may have altered adolescents' academic and socioemotional development and posed threats to their mental health. Even more concerning is that the far-reaching consequences of these school disruptions may have disproportionately impacted youth living in economically disadvantaged communities. Educators and policymakers had little empirical guidance when designing long-term contingency plans for extended disruption or suspension of in-person learning in response to a multi-systemic pandemic-level threat. Moreover, school personnel and researchers knew very little about how COVID-adapted in-person, hybrid, and remote learning models would impact youth's peri- and post-pandemic mental health, academic growth, and socioemotional development. This project will capitalize on three multi-jurisdictional, longitudinal datasets collected before and during the pandemic to examine the individual, family, and school factors that mitigate or exacerbate the impact of school disruptions on youth's adjustment and development. Findings will provide empirical evidence that can inform school policy and practice for balancing crisis-adapted learning with adolescents' academic, socioemotional, and mental health needs, especially for those from low-income families.

Project Activities: Using three complementary multi-jurisdictional datasets with longitudinal cohort designs; large, well-characterized samples; and comparable measures, this project will test multiple direct and indirect psychosocial pathways linking school disruption, stress, and children's adjustment while examining how individual and contextual factors moderate the consequences of school disruption and predict adolescents' developmental trajectories.

Products: The expected products of this study include information about the malleable individual, family, and school characteristics that predict adolescent youth's peri- and post-pandemic academic growth, socioemotional development, and mental health. This information will guide the development of screening tools and more targeted interventions to help schools to support adolescents' learning and academic success. This project will provide empirical evidence to inform future responses to the learning and socioemotional needs of students during periods of school closures. The project will also advance educational practice by informing situated school based practices and refining universal or indicated interventions to prevent anticipated mental health impacts of school disruption and loss of social connection.

Structured Abstract

Setting: This project team will capitalize on three multi-jurisdictional, longitudinal datasets collected before and during the pandemic to examine the individual, family, and school factors that mitigate or exacerbate the impact of school disruptions on adolescents' adjustment and development.

Sample: The research team will use three large-scale, longitudinal datasets to address the proposed research questions. The School Engagement and Development (SED) study collected 6 waves of survey and school record data from 3,120 adolescents and parents; the Youth Stress, Learning, and Adjustment (YSLA) study collected 4 waves of daily-diary data from 512 youth and parents; and the Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development (ABCD) study collected 5 waves of survey and neuroimaging data from 11,875 youth and parents.

Factors: Using these three complementary multi-jurisdictional datasets with longitudinal cohort designs; large, well-characterized samples; and comparable measures, this project team will test multiple direct and indirect psychosocial pathways linking school disruption, stress, and youth's adjustment while examining how individual and contextual factors moderate the consequences of school disruption and predict youth's developmental trajectories. Because these data include extensive information on pre- and peri-pandemic school and family experiences; comprehensive measures of mental health, academic growth, and socioemotional well-being; and multiple data sources (i.e., child, parent, school records), the project team is uniquely positioned to address these issues. While the SED and ABCD datasets provide information on general trajectories and patterns over time regarding outcomes of interest, the YSLA dataset allows for a deeper investigation into youth's everyday experiences by assessing their affect, behaviors, and adjustment as they unfold in real time. The use of three longitudinal datasets also provides an innovative opportunity to compare and contrast findings across different contexts (e.g., learning models) and timescales (e.g., day, semester, year) that many existing datasets cannot offer.

Research Design and Methods: School Engagement and Development (SED) is a multi-wave ongoing longitudinal study examining children's developing socioemotional and academic skills, school engagement, mental health, and interpersonal supports during middle childhood and adolescence. The sample included 5th to 7th grade children and parents from 40 urban public Title I schools in Pennsylvania that serve racially diverse student populations from low-income families. Youth Stress, Learning, and Adjustment (YSLA) is an ongoing multi-wave daily-diary study examining youth's daily stress, coping, adjustment, and social interactions. Baseline and 15 consecutive days of diary data were collected at each wave from a national sample of youth and parents with four waves of data being gathered between 2019-2021. Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development (ABCD) is a large-scale, longitudinal study focused on psychological and neurobiological development from pre-adolescence to early adulthood. Using 21 data acquisition sites across the U.S., ABCD follows a population-based, demographically diverse, representative sample of 10- to 13-year-old children.

Control Condition: there is no control condition for this project type.

Key Measures: The three datasets have comparable constructs and measures that were used consistently across waves, including youth anxiety, depression, affect, mental health, psychological resilience, emotion regulation, social competence, academic engagement and achievement, school learning model, stress, parent-child relationship, parental employment status, parental burnout, parental mental health, school climate and quality, peer connectedness, and socioeconomic status indicators. All measures were found to be reliable and valid for use within a racially and socioeconomically diverse youth population from 5th to 12th grade.

Data Analytic Strategy: The research team will perform a variety of longitudinal modeling procedures as appropriate for each research question, including latent class/profile analysis, general growth modeling, survival analysis, and multilevel modeling.


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