Educational Research for COVID-19 Response


These resources highlight research syntheses and recommendations about the effectiveness of potential actions for responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. The focus is on sources which review the broader literature rather than individual studies. Note that this does not summarize what various educational agencies are currently doing, since that is both fast-changing and vast in scope, and since it is not always clear what the research basis may be that underpins those decisions.

Major sources for aggregated reports

Summaries by topic

Digital learning

Assessment and differentiation

Measuring and addressing unfinished learning



Student engagement, socioemotional learning, and school climate

Focal populations

Family engagement / At-home supports

Staff supports

  • Digital Professional Learning for K-12 Teachers: Literature Review and Analysis (WestEd; 2020 Dec)
    • Well-designed virtual communities of practice support implementation. Customization (software features, personalized goal-setting, modes for content delivery and assessment) can encourage more active engagement. Learning may be extended through asynchronous access to archived resources, collaboration with colleagues, continuous improvement cycles, and monitoring student progress. Strong and seamless facilitation helps; digital access opens up possibilities for virtual coaches and outside experts, although local facilitators can offer immediate feedback and contextual knowledge. Layer multiple modalities, with job-embedded learning opportunities and opportunities for social interaction.
  • Remote Professional Development: Rapid Evidence Assessment. (2020 Sep)
    • 1-pg summary. Remote coaching, mentoring, and expert support can be effective alone or to complement PD programs. Video is particularly effective for enabling teachers to reflect on teaching practice, if paired with other resources (e.g., viewing guides, coaching conversations). More interactive content increases time on task and completion rates. Collegial collaboration may improve outcomes through reflective practice and collective problem-solving. Supportive school conditions include leader support, protected time, and effective technology platforms and training.
  • District systems to support equitable and high-quality teaching and learning. (ERR; 2020 Sep)
  • Sustaining teacher training in a shifting environment. (ERR; 2020 Jul)

Systems and operations