“Slide COVID”: The academy adapts to lower student achievement

In educational circles, this is called the “COVID Slide” and applies to students whose scientists deteriorated during the pandemic.

students scores or test results decreased due to a pandemic or a problem adapting to virtual learning.

Although many schools have returned to personal learning, some students are still experiencing difficulties.

Kim Chapman, vice president of education at Edmonds College, saw her own son fall into a rut, depressed by changes in his school routine.

“His 10th grade was completely online,” Chapman said. “He slipped into depression. He was worried about his grades. ”

For a while she felt isolated. She wondered if other students were under the same pressure.

As Chapman mustered the courage to talk to other parents, she heard stories of: ordinary students whose grades had fallen off a cliff; students her son’s age struggling with depression.

She was not alone.

“So many students have experienced this,” Chapman said. “It’s pretty versatile.”

Now parents and students are asking, what next?

What plans have local school districts launched to help students improve their grades and, more importantly, their self-confidence?

How do colleges, universities, and colleges handle student applications and transcripts that demonstrate a sharp decline in scores during a pandemic?

Chapman is looking for answers, but she is optimistic. Edmonds College is fully aware of the isolation the students have felt, she said.

Part of the discussion is re-engaging students in academia and social affairs, Chapman said. “We talked about how to literally get students back into the classroom, but also into the game.”

The Edmonds County School, an area her son visits, helps him and his friends, she said.

The county has made efforts to identify students with difficulty and increase summer school offerings.

“School districts want to help them, colleges want to help them,” Chapman said. “They are not safe from how the pandemic has affected students. I want more parents to know that everything is fine. ”

Here’s what some local school districts are doing to help:

“Not through your own fault”

• Base in Lynnwood Edmonds County School is preparing for a busy summer schedule, said Assistant District Attorney Greg Schwab.

The district’s summer school typically serves 300 to 400 high school students. This year, enrollment in summer schools has grown by 100%, and the district expects to offer training to about 800 high school students, Schwab said.

He sympathizes with their plight. “The first Zoom class started at 8 a.m. and the last Zoom class ended at 1:30 p.m., it was schooling most of the year,” Schwab said.

“Students recognized as successful before the pandemic fought through no fault of their own,” Schwab said.

Although the 2021-2022 semester returned to full-time study, the academic year was packed with breaks.

“We closed classes every day,” Schwab said. “The children were quarantined for 10 days and then there was a shortage of staff.”

He said more courses and faculty would help, but one could not adequately counter the decline of studies without paying attention to student well-being.

“Mental health remains a problem,” Schwab said. “We have added social workers to our support staff and added drug and alcohol counselors. There has been a significant increase in the number of children facing these problems. ”

Finally, parents need to speak out. “If the school district doesn’t know your child is having difficulty, let them know,” Schwab said. “Students are resilient and will recover, although it may take some time.”

Summer school

• У Mukilteo School District expanded summer school.

“Last year was the largest summer program we’ve ever organized,” said Diane Bradford, a spokeswoman for the district. It is expected that the number of receipts will increase this summer as well.

Bradford said the district offers free online tutoring for middle and high school students through a campaign called Revolution Prep.

“Any high school or high school student in our county can come in or book time with an instructor online at different times of the day, evening or weekend, and receive training and homework help,” Bradford said.

Every two weeks, the district sends alerts to families of middle school students who do not pass one or more classes or are at risk of losing credit. Bradford said faculty and staff approached students struggling with academic and personal issues and offered help.

“Staff worked hard to connect with students, and in some cases even went home to support them by delivering the necessary technology, school supplies and registering,” Bradford said.

Emotional intelligence

Everett Public schools focuses more on mental health, said Dave Peters, director of student support.

Social well-being, emotional health and scientists are inextricably linked, Peters said.

“Emotions affect our aspirations, confidence and our ability to concentrate and interact with others,” Peters said.

To help students identify stress and cope with stress, the district is implementing a program developed by the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence called RULER. The abbreviation means “five skills of emotional intelligence” – to recognize, understand, label, express and regulate. It aims to increase the emotional intelligence of K-12 students.

The county offers credit recovery courses through its summer high school academy and online high school. Summer programs are free for district students. Transport and food are provided.

The program “Homework Help” has been expanded in the district. “Students who need extra help, especially from their teachers, can set up certain times and days during the week when they can get the help they need,” said Jeanne Willard, the district’s regional head of additional learning options.

The Paper Tutoring program for ninth graders provides help with homework, writing reviews and learning live chat and is available in English, Spanish, French and Mandarin, Willard said.

Returning to personal learning is a blessing, Peters said. “Students struggled and approached the edge. Being able to go back to school and supporting friends and adults made a big difference. ”

Unique challenges Higher ed

Colleges and universities are also aware of the decline of COVID.

“A lot of students are going through injuries,” said Chapman, vice president of education at Edmonds College. “We are looking for ways to support students to be successful. It was hard for all of us, ”Chapman said.

• About half of the courses on Edmonds College are hybrid, a combination of full-time and distance learning.

The College plans to expand its “highly flexible” offerings, which combine face-to-face, virtual, and on-demand lectures that can be accessed at any time.

Chapman said students whose family or work schedules do not allow them to attend full-time in person.

Students who did not get the grade they wanted can retake the class and replace the old grade, she said. The College is improving Spanish GED and English as a Second Language (ESL) courses.

College and university officials, such as affiliates of the University of Washington and the University of Western Washington in Bellingham, encourage students to eliminate any deficiencies in their application.

EducationWeek recently reported that “the average junior high school student taking the ACT College test in the spring of 2021 has dropped from the 50th to the 46th percentile in English, reading, math and science – compared to academic performance in 2020 and 2019 years ».

ACT is a nonprofit group that manages standardized tests for college admission. Estimates of about 600,000 students from nearly 4,000 schools in 38 states, “students of all racial groups, as well as rural, suburban and urban schools, showed significant reductions in test scores,” EducationWeek said in a statement.

• У Western University of Washington in Bellingham: “Activities, challenges, and experiences can tell us much more about a student’s ability to succeed in our learning environment than just grades or test scores,” wrote in an email Shelley Soto, Western’s vice vice president of registration management.

“We invite students to share with us the details of their lives and experiences,” Soto said. Standardized test results at Western are now optional.

• On Art University of Washington Botel, COVID-drop is not the first time the university has had an unstable or unforeseen period of assessment in a student transcript, said Scott James, vice rector for enrollment management and student affairs. “So this is what we look for regularly. Obviously, it’s on a much larger scale, ”James said of the pandemic’s impact on success.

“If a student’s grades or grade point average do not reflect their potential, we hope the student would clarify this in his or her application or personal statement,” James said.

If it is not addressed, “we usually asked the applicants to clarify the information: ‘Hey, what happened?’ Sometimes we can contact high school counselors to find out what could have happened to an individual student, ”James said.

• On Art University of Washington Seattle’s main campus, Paul Siegert, director of the Seattle Admissions Office, said the university’s application review process is designed to “consider many different types of students with different assessment patterns and experiences”.

Because it is a holistic review, it is able to assess a student’s entire career in high school, Siegert said.

If there are differences in performance, reviewers can take personal issues and other issues into account, he said. However, if a student’s grades or test scores have been declining over a period of time, “we would love to see them recover,” Seegert said.

“We definitely saw more students who had problems,” Siegert said. “We can take that into account.”

Washington Everett State University offers programs for undergraduate and graduate students.

The university is not asking for a personal statement, said Alberto Vazquez, deputy director of student services.

If a student or entrant encounters difficulties, they are “strongly encouraged to contact me or someone in the student service department,” Vazquez said.

“If their grades have dropped, they can come and talk to us to help get back on track or get help with taking the courses needed for their major,” Vazquez said.

If officials notice a decline in grades, “we’ll get in touch and talk to the student about what’s going on and what solutions we can come up with to make the app stronger,” Vazquez said.

WSU Everett is taking steps to help bring students back into the classroom, noting that many public college and college students rested at school or college during a pandemic, sometimes for a year or more.

Some of these students, Vazquez said, simply failed to move to virtual classes. “They told me they failed every class because they just weren’t used to it,” Vazquez said. “Now they want to come back and want to apply to WSU. This situation is very common. ”

Janis Podsada: 425-339-3097; jpodsada@heraldnet.com; Twitter: @JanicePods.

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