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Gone with the pandemic: How did Covid-19 affect the academic performance of Colombian students?


  • Abadía Alvarado, Luz Karime
  • Gómez Soler, Silvia C.
  • Cifuentes González, Juanita


The Covid-19 pandemic is an unprecedented shock that has tested the responsiveness of education systems around the world. The international literature that has studied the Covid-19 pandemic and school performance is still limited. Colombia presents an interesting scenario for the analysis due to the prolonged school closures and long lockdowns it experienced in 2020, and the availability of a rich dataset on the results of a high school exit examination (Saber11) that was administered even during the pandemic. Using this data, we estimate whether the COVID-19 pandemic is associated to lower levels of performance amongst graduating high school students using a school and time fixed effects model, finding a negative relation. Due to the significant reduction in the number of students taking the national standardized high school exit exam in 2020, we use inverse probability weighting (IPW) regressions to control for possible selection bias. The results of these regressions show that the Covid-19 pandemic has a negative and statistically significant relation with the scores obtained by students on the Saber11 exam. These results are relevant because they provide evidence to motivate the design of public policies that mitigate the side effects of the pandemic on educational outcomes.

Suggested Citation

  • Abadía Alvarado, Luz Karime & Gómez Soler, Silvia C. & Cifuentes González, Juanita, 2023. "Gone with the pandemic: How did Covid-19 affect the academic performance of Colombian students?," International Journal of Educational Development, Elsevier, vol. 100(C).
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:injoed:v:100:y:2023:i:c:s0738059323000597
    DOI: 10.1016/j.ijedudev.2023.102783

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item


    Covid-19; Learning losses; Standardized tests; Sample selection;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
    • I24 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Education and Inequality
    • I29 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Other


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