What happens to education during a pandemic? Evidence from a Colombian case

Main Article Content

Pablo Andrés Estrada Barreto https://orcid.org/0000-0002-9443-4437
Juan Sebastián Hincapié Acosta https://orcid.org/0000-0001-7083-6506


Higher education, academic performance, virtual education, Colombia, pandemic, COVID-19


In this paper we show the results of an investigation into changes in the performance of EAFIT University students during the two semesters of 2020 compared with statistically similar cohorts from 2019. We used the Differencein-Difference method and find that student performance during emergency virtual education was around 0.2 decimals better than in previous periods, it was measured according to the obtained grade. These results are consistent even when classified by geographical location, economic background, and the discipline the student is enrolled in. To better understand the mechanism that caused this change, we discuss the results using semi structured interviews carried out with teachers, and analysis on student perception surveys performed by the institution. The results suggest that this change could be explained by student abilities, successful actions taken by the institution and increase in collaborative testing methodologies.


Download data is not yet available.
Abstract 96 | PDF (Español) Downloads 73


Cunningham, S. (2021). Casual inference: The Mixtape. Londres: Yale University Press. https://mixtape.scunning.com/index.html

Di Pietro, G., Biagi, F., Costa, P., Karpiński, Z., & Mazza, J. (2020). The Likely Impact of COVID-19 on Education: Reflections based on the Existing Literature and Recent International Datasets. Luxemburgo: Publications Office of the European Union. https://doi.org/10.2760/126686

El Said, G. R. (2021). How Did the COVID-19 Pandemic Affect Higher Education Learning Experience? An Empirical Investigation of Learners’ Academic Performance at a University in a Developing Country. Advances in Human-Computer Interaction, 2021. https://doi.org/10.1155/2021/6649524

Engzell, P., Frey, A., & Verhagen, M. D. (2021). Learning loss due to school closures during the COVID-19 pandemic. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 118(17), e2022376118. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.2022376118

Finnegan, M. (2021). The impact on student performance and experience of the move from face-to-face to online delivery in response to Covid-19: A case study in an Irish higher education institute. Aishe-J,13(1), 1-23.

Gobierno de Colombia. (2020a). Acciones tomadas por el Gobierno. https://coronaviruscolombia.gov.co/Covid19/acciones-del-gobierno.html

Gobierno de Colombia. (2020b). Acciones tomadas por el Gobierno: Educación. https://coronaviruscolombia.gov.co/Covid19/acciones/acciones-de-educacion.html

Gonzalez, T., De la Rubia, M. A., Hincz, K. P., Comas-Lopez, M., Subirats, L., Fort, S., & Sacha, G. M. (octubre,2020). Influence of COVID-19 confinement on students’ performance in higher education. PLoSONE, 15(10), 1-24. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0239490

Goodman-Bacon, A. (2021). Difference-in-differences with variation in treatment timing. Journal of Econometrics, 225(2), 254-277. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jeconom.2021.03.014

Hodges, C., Moore, S., Lockee, B., Trust, T., & Bond, A. (2020). The Difference Between Emergency Remote Teaching and Online Learning. EDUCASE Review. https://er.educause.edu/articles/2020/3/thedifference-between-emergency-remote-teaching-and-online-learning

Iglesias-Pradas, S., Hernández-García, Á., Chaparro-Peláez, J., & Prieto, J. L. (2021). Emergency Remote Teaching and Students’ Academic Performance in Higher Education during the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Case Study. Computers in Human Behavior, 119, 106713. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chb.2021.106713

Jewitt, S. & Ryley, H. (2014). It’s a girl thing: Menstruation, school attendance, spatial mobility and wider gender inequalities in Kenya. Geoforum, 56, 137-147. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.geoforum.2014.07.006

Kaffenberger, M. (2020). Modeling the long-run learning impact of the COVID-19 learning shock: Actions to (more than) mitigate loss. RISE. doi.org/10.35489/BSG-RISE-RI_2020/017

Kremer, M. & Miguel, E. (2004). Worms: Identifying impacts on education and health in the presence of treatment externalities. Econometrica, 72(1), 159-217. https://cega.berkeley.edu/assets/cega_research_projects/1/Identifying-Impacts-on-Education-and-Health-in-the-Presence-of-Treatment-Externalities.pdf

Kuhfeld, M., Soland, J., Tarasawa, B., Johnson, A., Ruzek, E., & Liu, J. (2020). Projecting the Potential Impact of COVID-19 School Closures on Academic Achievement. Educational Researcher, 49(8), 549-565. https://doi.org/10.3102/0013189X20965918

Malala Fund (2020). Girls’ education and COVID-19: what past shocks can teach us about mitigating the impact of pandemic. https://www.parlnet.org/girls-education-covid-19-what-past-shocks-can-teachus-about-mitigating-the-impacts-of-pandemics/

Maldonado, J. E. & De Witte, K. (2020). The effect of school closures on standardised student test outcomes. Department of Economics Discussion Paper. https://lirias.kuleuven.be/3189074

Marcotte, D. E. & Hemelt, S. W. (2008). Unscheduled School Closings and Student Performance. Education Finance and Policy, 3(3), 316-338.

Mathews, T., Dempsey, M., & Overstreet, S. (2009). Effects of exposure to community violence on school functioning: The mediating role of posttraumatic stress symptoms. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 47(7), 586-591. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.brat.2009.04.001

Monteiro, J. & Rocha, R. (mayo, 2017). Drug Battles and School Achievement. The Review of Economics and Statistics, 99, 213-228. https://doi.org/10.1162/REST

Nurunnabi, M., Almusharraf, N., & Aldeghaither, D. (2020). Mental health and well-being during the COVID-19 pandemic in higher education: Evidence from G20 countries. Journal of Public Health Research, 9,60-68.

Orlov, G., McKee, D., Berry, J., Boyle, A., DiCiccio, T., Ransom, T., … Stoye, J. (2021). Learning during the COVID-19 pandemic: It is not who you teach, but how you teach. Economics Letters, 202, 109812. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.econlet.2021.109812

Oster, E. & Thornton, R. (2009). Menstruation and Education in Nepal. NBER Working Paper Series. https://www.nber.org/system/files/working_papers/w14853/w14853.pdf

Tran, T., Hoang, A.-D., Nguyen, Y.-C., Nguyen, L.-C., Ta, N.-T., Pham, Q.-H., … Nguyen, T.-T. (2020). Toward Sustainable Learning during School Suspension: Socioeconomic, Occupational Aspirations, and Learning Behavior of Vietnamese Students during COVID-19. Sustainability, 12(10), 4195. https://doi.org/10.3390/su12104195

Universidad EAFIT (2020a). Comunicado n° 26 - Nuevas medidas preventivas para contrarrestar la propagación del covid-19. https://www.eafit.edu.co/medidas-preventivas-covid-19

Universidad EAFIT (2020b). Comunicado n° 29 - Flexibilización de los procesos de enseñanza y aprendizaje con herramientas colaborativas. https://www.eafit.edu.co/institucional/comunicados/Paginas/comunicado-29-flexibilizacion-de-los-procesos-de-ensenanza-y-aprendizaje-con-herramientascolaborativas.aspx

Universidad EAFIT. (2020c). Comunicado n° 32 - EAFIT se prepara para virtualizar sus clases de pregrado y posgrado. https://www.eafit.edu.co/institucional/comunicados/Paginas/eafit-se-prepara-paravirtualizar-sus-clases-de-pregrado-y-posgrado.aspx

Universidad EAFIT. (2020d). Comunicado n° 41 - Evaluación del aprendizaje durante la contingencia delcovid-19 - Programas de pregrado. https://www.eafit.edu.co/institucional/comunicados/Paginas/evaluacion-del-aprendizaje-durante-la-contingencia-del-covid-19-programas-de-pregrado.aspx

Universidad EAFIT. (2020e). Comunicado n° 42 - Evaluación del aprendizaje en los programas de posgrado durante la contingencia del covid-19. https://www.eafit.edu.co/institucional/comunicados/Paginas/comunicado-n-42-evaluacion-del-aprendizaje-en-los-programas-de-posgrado-durante-lacontingencia-del-covid-19.aspx

Xie, X., Siau, K., & Nah, F. F. H. (2020). COVID-19 pandemic–online education in the new normal and the next normal. Journal of Information Technology Case and Application Research, 22(3), 175-187. https://doi.org/10.1080/15228053.2020.1824884