Distance learning takes a toll on students’ grades

Compared to last year, many students are noticing differences in their average grades


Kaylee Price

The Aeries grade app, shown above, is a common place for students to check their grades. Due to this year’s unusual learning circumstances, some are noticing a difference in their academic performance.

Over the last three semesters, Granite Bay High School has experienced many different forms of learning: in-person, online asynchronous and online synchronous. 

But how are students being affected by these differences in learning platforms?

In the 2019 fall semester, GBHS had typical in-person schooling. Because of this, students’ grades were consistent with what they always have been because nothing had changed.

However, during the 2020 fall semester, students are now receiving an education through distance online learning. Because of this new learning style, many students have noticed a noticeable difference on their normal grades.  

Kira Allen believes her grades were slightly better last fall than what they are now.

“(My grades are almost) the same as last semester, with last semester being…a bit higher,” Allen said.

Other students have also noticed that their grades are lower this semester in comparison to last fall semester as a result of the new distance learning format. 

Various home situations and environments can also impact students’ grades. 

Learning at home allows for more distractions while attending online school. 

“It’s a lot easier to go on my phone during Zoom (classes), so that’s a huge temptation,” Allen said. 

(My grades are almost) the same as last semester, with last semester being…a bit higher.

— Kira Allen

Sitting in front of a screen all day can have a major effect on a student’s motivation as well.

“I still feel as though when I’m doing my homework, I’m still (on) my computer after being on it all morning,” Allen said.

Attending in person school allows students to interact with each other, physically turn in assignments and have in-person help from teachers.

Unfortunately, online learning does not provide much of an opportunity for students to interact. On the other hand, however, many students find it easier to seek one on one guidance from their teachers.

“Being in actual school… is a lot easier because it’s less intimidating to ask for help,” sophomore Bree Donahue said.

While students have noticed lower grades, teachers are noticing their class grade averages have stayed relatively the same. They have taken notice of the grades their students have been receiving during distance learning compared to what they saw during the fall of 2019.

“My (students’) grades are about the same,” English teacher Bernadette Cranmer said. “About the same number of As and Bs, and about the same number of students who are struggling.”

The technology that we have now has opened up many opportunities for students and staff to get the most out of online learning while not at school.

“The district provided excellent training to all teachers,” Robert Prichard, an English teacher at GBHS, said.

Teachers have also been changing up their curriculum to provide a better understanding of the material and accommodate learning over Zoom.

“(Teachers) have removed content that we might normally teach, and spend more time on things than we might have in the past,” Prichard said.

Grades have seen some changes this school year and distance learning and other circumstances are definitely playing their role in these changes.