Failing grades increase as metro area students show signs of distance learning struggles

For many parents and students in Minnesota, it’s the start of another week for distance learning.

And a new report shows there are struggles.

A number of school districts nationwide are seeing a rise in the number of kids falling behind or failing classes.

The first report cards of the school year are arriving and Superintendent of St. Paul Public Schools Joe Gothard, Ph.D., says nearly 40% of grades for high schools students were Fs, which is double the amount in a typical year.

"This number far surpasses any of those previous data points that I’ve been able to refer to,” Gothard said.

School districts from coast to coast have reported the same concerning trends.

In Houston, 42% of students received at least one F in the first grading period of the year.

English language learners and disadvantaged students are now suffering the most.

Educators say there is a list of challenges, including students learning from home skipping assignments or school altogether. Additionally, internet access can be limited or inconsistent, making it difficult to complete and upload those assignments. And with a rise in COVID-19 numbers, many schools have no choice but to continue distance learning.

There’s another issue educators are facing: Teachers say it’s hard to tell who is struggling in class because many students keep their cameras off during video learning sessions.

That’s why teachers say they are committed to making changes throughout the year.

Some schools are changing grading policies and giving students more time to complete assignments.