IT Teaching Resources

YouthTruth Survey: Learning and well-being during COVID-19

A bird’s-eye view of changes to students’ well-being in response to shifts in their learning environments during COVID-19

Article Research

Title: Students Weigh In: Learning & Well-Being During COVID-19
Author: YouthTruth

Key points

  • Only 39% of students said they learned a lot each day
  • Distractions at home or feelings of stress, anxiety, or depression were the main contributors to students being unable to focus on remote learning; Black and Latinx students faced more of these obstacles than their Asian or White peers
  • Relationships with teachers and peers were “bright spots”
  • Female and gender non-binary students rated their mental wellbeing lower than their male counterparts

Education in the United States, as across the globe, changed dramatically when the COVID-19 pandemic forced schools across the country to close in spring 2020 and over 50 million students were asked to learn remotely. However, in this moment of rapid response and significant change in students’ experiences of school and learning, there has been little firsthand data about how the pandemic is affecting students’ experiences – whereas there have been numerous efforts to hear the important perspectives of adults. As a national nonprofit that elevates student voice on critical issues in education, YouthTruth wanted to know: how have students perceived their learning experiences, social-emotional development, and well-being during spring 2020 school closures? To better understand this question and share insights with the field, we analyzed survey data from more than 20,000 students in grades 5-12. The data was gathered in May and June 2020 through a 12-minute online survey, administered in English and Spanish, in partnership with 166 public schools across nine states. 

What would this look like in a course? 
  • Consider how home distractions (e.g., childcare responsibilities, caring for an ailing family member) or heightened mental health illness could impact students’ abilities to complete work for your course. For instance, a normal “in-person” workload may be too much for students now. 
  • Recognize that your course might be one of the few opportunities that students have to interact with peers or friends and build in intentional time for community-building accordingly. 

“Students Weigh In: COVID-19” Aggregate Report – Spring 2020. (2020). Retrieved August 31, 2020, from