Dr. Mackey: “Grades are down” for virtual learning students

Falling grades seen amid Alabama's virtual learning environment

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - State Superintendent Dr. Eric Mackey said grades are dropping, especially for virtual learning students in Alabama.

“I’ve talked to several superintendents and they tell us that failure rates are up," Mackey said. "Grades are down significantly, especially among virtual students and so we do continue to be concerned about that.”

Mackey said some schools had to go all virtual because of the lack of substitutes available. Coosa County Schools will go virtual after too many COVID-19 cases and not enough substitutes.

“When we have interruptions in instruction, that is not something that is taken lightly," said Coosa County Schools Superintendent Andi Wilson.

“But most of those grades are due to the lack of getting that extra support from home to ensure that the students are following through with their work," she said.

Lawrence County Schools Superintendent Jon Bret Smith said about a third of the students are virtual in his district.

“Across the state we’ve struggled with people not turning in anything,” Smith said.

Smith said they’ve seen a “significant number of failures” and will ask some students to come back in-person for traditional learning.

“We’ve been warning certain students that they’re going to have to come back,” he said.

The district has also created new curriculum to help students recover their grades.

Montgomery County Schools Chief Academic Officer Bernard Mitchell said virtual learning has been difficult as well.

“It’s very difficult because this is something we’ve never experienced before. So the opportunity to engage children in a highly effective learning environment has been difficult because many of our students are not present,” Mitchell said.

Copyright 2020 WSFA 12 News. All rights reserved.