Report: Students struggle with distance learning as grades tumble during pandemic

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A student listens to a live lecture on a laptop computer at home during a remote learning class in Princeton, Illinois, U.S., on Friday, Sept. 11, 2020. Illinois reported 1,337 new coronavirus cases Wednesday as the state’s positivity rate dropped below 4% for the first time in weeks. Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images

SAN DIEGO (Border Report) — The number of students getting D and F grades in San Diego County has increased sharply during the pandemic’s distance learning era, According to a report in the San Diego Union-Tribune.

Data shows that these below-par grades make up 28-percent of grades given out to high school students and 32 percent of middle school students within the Sweetwater School District, the second-largest in San Diego County.

Last year, D’s and F’s made up 20 percent of high school grades and 19 percent of middle school grades, according to district data.

Other districts are showing similar numbers.

The Union-Tribune‘s article also lays out a nationwide climb in poor grades fueled by the pandemic, saying “the trend is in line with school officials’ and national experts’ predictions that school closures, along with obstacles to online education, will cause massive learning loss this year.”

The report goes on to cite research done by national consulting firm McKinsey & Co., estimating that students who do not receive full-time, in-person instruction until 2021 will lose an average of seven months of learning this school year.

The numbers are more dire for minority students, according to McKinsey & Co.

Latino students could fall behind further, by nine months, and Black students by 10 months. Low-income students may fall behind by more than a year, the firm said.

The article, written by Kristen Taketa and Deborah Sullivan Brennan, says experts believe that bad grades are largely a result of the many challenges students face because of the pandemic and school closures, such as unreliable internet, a lack of adult support, a lack of a quiet home environment to do school work, anxiety, depression, hunger or homelessness — all factors outside a student’s or teacher’s control.

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