Introduction: School closures and online learning during the Coronavirus Disease-19 (Covid-19) pandemic have raised concerns about school-aged children's learning loss during the epidemic. This study aims to evaluate the effects of school closures and online learning during the Covid-19 pandemic on the academic performance of elementary school-aged children in East Java.
Methods: The data taken were basic characteristic data as well as academic performance statistics in Mathematics, Indonesian Language, and Science from six elementary schools in two major cities (Surabaya and Sidoarjo) during the 2018–2019 and 2021–2022 academic years. Inclusion criteria were the academic reports of fourth- through sixth-grade elementary school-aged children. Chi-Square, ANOVA, and independent sample T-test were used for statistical analysis.
Results: Overall, academic performance decreased near the end of online learning as compared to the beginning of online learning (87 ± 5.8 vs. 84.7 ± 6.2; p-value = 0.043). Lower academic performances were also shown by children from private schools during online learning compared to before online learning (89.9 ± 4.7 vs. 87.8 ± 4.9; p-value = 0.003), and at the end of online learning compared to the beginning of online learning (89.8 ± 4.5 vs. 86.9 ± 3.3; p-value = 0.013). Lower academic performance was also shown by children in Sidoarjo during online learning compared to before online learning (90.4 ± 4 vs. 89 .1 ± 2.9; p-value = 0.009), and at the end of online learning compared to the beginning of online learning (90.3 ± 3.5 vs. 88 ± 2.1; p-value = 0.004).
Conclusion: We found differences in children's academic performance at the beginning and end periods of online learning, as well as differences between private and public school students. Considering online learning has impacted children's academic performance, offline learning should be undertaken to optimize comprehension effectively.