Should Schools Be Giving So Many Failing Grades This Year?
December 16, 2020
From coast to coast, school districts that have primarily served students via remote learning are seeing dramatic increases in the number of failing or near-failing grades on students’ quarterly report cards and progress reports.
About a third of high school students in St. Paul, Minn., had a nonpassing grade at the end of the first quarter. Similar patterns are showing up in Los Angeles, Houston, several districts surrounding San Diego and in the California Bay Area, and two large districts near the District of Columbia—Fairfax County, Va., and Montgomery County, Md. In Salt Lake City, reports of three times as many failing secondary grades were so worrisome that students mounted a protest last week to demand in-person schooling.
The unprecedented wave of low grades testifies to how many students are struggling with extended doses of remote learning. The factors run the gamut: a lack of reliable Wi-Fi access or devices for students, sporadic attendance, and disengagement, all leading to missing assignments.