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Back-to-School Survey: 39% of Teens Feel They Are Behind Educationally Due to the Pandemic, Many Believe Permanently


For Immediate Release

August 23, 2021



Erika O'Shea 

Junior Achievement of Greater Kansas City

816-608-1676 ext. 21


Back-to-School Survey: 39% of Teens Feel They Are Behind Educationally Due to the Pandemic, Many Believe Permanently

Junior Achievement Survey Also Shows Teens Needing Emotional Support from Adults and Individual Attention from Teachers to Help with Learning

(Kansas City, KS) – A new survey of teens conducted for Junior Achievement by the research firm ENGINE Insights shows that nearly 2-in-5 (39%) feel that they are behind educationally because of the pandemic. Of those, more than a third (37%) feel they are behind permanently. The survey also found that in addition to attending school in-person and interacting with other students and teachings, many teens (34%) need “emotional support” from teachers, parents, counselors, and other caring adults to help their “mental well-being,” as well as more individual attention from teachers (32%) to help with their learning. The 2021 survey of 1,003 13- to 17-year-olds was conducted by ENGINE Insights from July 8 through 13, 2021.

“These results indicate that the pandemic may have a profound and long-term impact on today’s young people, not just academically, but emotionally,” said (JA Area Representative). “It’s up to all of us, educators, parents, caregivers, counselors, mentors, and youth development professionals, to do what we can this school year and beyond to give young people the support they need.”

Other findings from the survey include:

  • A third of teens (34%) have concerns about attending school in-person this year.
  • Most teens (56%) rated the quality of education during the pandemic as “fair/poor."
  • Less than half (48%) of teens are interested in participating in online-only classes in the future.


This Youth CARAVAN survey was conducted by ENGINE INSIGHTS among a sample of 1,003 13-17-year-olds. This survey was live on July 8-13, 2021.

Respondents for this survey were selected from among those who have volunteered to participate in online surveys and polls.  All sample surveys and polls may be subject to multiple sources of error, including, but not limited to sampling error, coverage error, error associated with nonresponse, error associated with question wording and response options, and post-survey weighting and adjustments. It is nationally representative with set quotas based on census data. The 1,003 completes are all who qualified and completed based on the demographic quota requirements. The MoE is +/- 3.1%.

About Junior Achievement of Greater Kansas City

Junior Achievement of Greater Kansas City empowers the next generation of leaders, thinkers, and doers by connecting young people to mentors and learning opportunities which teach crucial competencies in areas like financial decision-making and entrepreneurial thinking to prepare them for 21st century careers. Junior Achievement’s inspiring volunteer-driven programs take place in classrooms across Kansas City and at the Junior Achievement Youth Learning Lab presented by the Mallouk Family Foundation, whose flagship program is JA BizTown presented by CommunityAmerica Credit Union. Junior Achievement shows kids what is possible. For them. For Kansas City.

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