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Bruins blame distance learning for abundance of substandard marks

Distance learning has been tough for many students academically, resulting in more Ds and Fs than ever before. Photo by MCRD Parris Island, SC

Since the induction of distance learning in March, a downward trend has appeared in the grade department for many Bruins.

Bear River Principal Chris Roberts expressed concern regarding this drop in grades.

“In years past we may have around 10-15% of students that fall into this [failing class] category. This year we have 20-25% of students that have at least one D or one F,” he said. “From this list of students with at least one F, we’ve noticed this year that the grade percentage of those F’s are considerably lower. We actually have students with single-digit grade percentages in some classes.”

A few Bruins voiced their thoughts on why this drop could be happening.

“Since students are full-distance learning now, I’m sure that students are having a hard time understanding the work they’ve been given,” said Senior Marco Luciano.

“Yeah, I think grades are dropping a little because learning for everyone is different – for some this is harder than others,” said Sophomore Olivia DesAutels. “And maybe [teachers] expect a little too much because this isn’t the norm and takes getting used to. So I guess we can’t be expected to do the normal routines of school.”

Other students also felt the same way about teachers.

“Students really appreciate the teachers that have been more understanding and flexible with assignments,” said Senior Noah Dunhower. “However some teachers haven’t, which causes a lot of frustration and stress for some people. Lack of communication and asking for our suggestions is a problem that I don’t believe has been addressed very well.”

“I honestly just think that teachers, half of the time, give out too much homework still depending on how many classes each student has,” said Luciano. “As for us seniors, I personally think we have too much homework.”

Principal Roberts addressed another issue that may be attributed to the drop in student grades.

“Many students don’t have support at home or an adult outside of school to encourage them or hold them accountable,” said Principal Roberts.

Dunhower recognized the importance of the social aspect of school as it served as a support system for many students.

“It’s disappointing and frustrating for many students who rely on the social aspect of school to keep them going, and many feel like teachers haven’t been handling some things as well as they could,” he said. “Both of these have been frustrating for me personally, especially since it’s my last year.”

Principal Roberts described other examples of what could be motivating the drop in student grades that weren’t addressed by students.

“Many students are admitting that they’re unmotivated for whatever reason. Some think that their grades don’t count or matter, and that they’ll just pass and move on to the next class (which isn’t the case),” he said. “ … Some students are having internet issues (many had issues but have been able to solve that with using the school WiFi, using a hotspot, finding a local place with WiFi, etc.). There are also students who are unorganized and rely on the structure that in-person school can provide. Lastly, we have many students who aren’t taking advantage of the support that the school has in place to help them academically. Whether that be office hours on Wednesdays or before and after school tutoring, there aren’t enough students who are participating that really need to.”

He continued to express teachers’ eagerness to help students who are struggling through participating in office hours or attending before and after school tutoring.

“There are two things that a teacher loves to hear from their students that are struggling. One: I need your help, and two: I’m willing to do the work necessary to get my grade up,” he said. “… Teachers are bending over backwards right now to help their students … Grades are earned, not given … Students need to be willing to do the work. Some have dug themselves some serious holes but with some sacrifice and hard work they could fill those holes.”

He left with a final message towards students to continue persevering.

“Students, you can do this!” he said. “There’s still time to get back to where you need to be. Please don’t give up. We won’t!”

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Bruins blame distance learning for abundance of substandard marks