A new study comes to the conclusion that school students did worse on IQ tests after corona-related school closures. A research team led by Moritz Breit from the University of Trier writes in the journal "Plos One" that schoolchildren from Rhineland-Palatinate scored significantly fewer points on intelligence tests around six months after the pandemic began than comparison groups in 2002 and 2012.
In August and September 2020, the scientists had around 420 students in grades 7 to 9 take an IQ test, and thus after the school closures in Rhineland-Palatinate for these classes from mid-March to early June. The results were significantly worse than tests in a comparison group in 2012. When the majority of the 420 students were tested again in July 2021, the results had improved compared to 2020, but the gap compared to 2012 was not caught up.
However, several experts interpret the study cautiously. They do not question the results of the study per se, but point out that the results are difficult to generalize. Around half of the participating students attended so-called gifted classes.
It is also conceivable that the differences between 2012 and 2020 were also influenced by other factors. The researchers led by main author Breit also discuss the limitations of their study.
Experts consider it quite plausible that the impairment in school affects the development of intelligence. However, among other things, the selection of the students is criticized. "The samples are actually quite small for the complex statistical analysis, not to say too small," said Detlef Rost from the Center for Mental Health Education at Southwest University Chongqing in China. This clearly limits the reliability of the findings.
In addition, it could be that between 2012 and 2020 other factors such as the pandemic also caused students to perform worse on IQ tests. Klaus Zierer, Professor of School Education at the University of Augsburg, sees digitization as an important factor. "There are studies on this that show, for example, that the duration and type of use of smartphones has a negative impact on the development of intelligence."
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