Study of state high schoolers finds remote learners more likely to be left behind
Connecticut high school students learning exclusively at home during the pandemic are in greater danger of failing to advance to the next grade than those who opted for a model that includes at least some in-person learning, according to a report released Monday by the nonprofit educational organization RISE.
The report found that 33% of high school students in the urban districts it studied are in danger of not progressing to the next grade, which compares to about 15% in a non-pandemic year.
The report looked at more than 12,000 students in Hartford, East Hartford, Manchester, Middletown, Norwalk, Naugatuck, Meriden and Stamford during the first 2 [1/2] months of the school year.
It found that about 37% of students in those districts opted to participate exclusively in remote learning this fall. Of those, just 54% were on track to be promoted to the next grade after the first quarter of the school year. That compared to 74% of those who attended some in-person classes in a hybrid model.
The study also found that female students, students of color, and special education students were more likely to enroll in remote instruction than other students.
Among other things, the report recommends increasing communication with students learning at home. It cited programs such as “porch visits," where educators in Middletown spend a day each week visiting with students who need help at their homes. Other districts, the researchers said, are adding educational sessions on Saturdays, which can be attended by any student who needs help.
Educators discussing the report during a virtual news conference Monday said they believe there is still time this school year to improve educational outcomes for their students.
“You have to maximize time,” said Matthew Ryan, the principal of East Hartford high school. “You have to put in place afternoon and evening sessions for kids, Saturday sessions for kids and then you have to make sure that your summer utilizes all of the time necessary.”
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