More students are receiving failing grades at midterm period

Published: Dec. 14, 2020 at 7:58 PM CST
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - Schools are seeing students perform worse in the classroom during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Iowa City Community School District saw 37% of its high school students have at least one F by the midterm period. In a normal year, around 20% of its high school students have at least one F by the midterm period.

The numbers in Iowa City are part of a national trend of students performing worse in the classroom. In Houston, 42% of students received at least one F in the first grading period of the year. Nearly 40% of grades for high school students in St. Paul, Minnesota, were Fs, double the amount in a typical year.

KCRG-TV9 asked for similar data from schools in Dubuque, Cedar Rapids, and Waterloo. But, those numbers were not provided by the publication.

Mike Beranek, who is the president of the Iowa State Education Association and spent 30 years as a teacher, said students are struggling because they’re concerned about their safety along with learning new skills like zoom.

“So you compound that with needing to meet standards and understand the curriculum it just makes it incredibly difficult for our students,” Beranek said.

College students are also having trouble with online learning as well. Will Yager, who is a graduate student at the University of Iowa, said he’s seen the frustrations as a teacher and a student.

“It’s hard to keep the focus necessary to see anything through,” Yager said.

Yager is a graduate student in music. He said it’s hard to care about work when you can’t perform in front of people.

“Half of what I do, I do just to perform for people and making a video recording is just a different experience,” Yager said. “It just makes it hard to care.”

Other school districts, like Center Point-Urbana, have started dismissing students early to give teachers more time to plan classes online and in-person.

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