A year into the coronavirus pandemic, there is more data emerging that the school shutdown policies were an abject failure. In North Carolina, the majority of high school students failed the Tar Heel State’s end-of-course exams given in the fall semester.
Local news outlet WBTV noted that the data from the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction is the “first large-scale glimpse into how students in North Carolina are doing amidst the pandemic.” These tests span mathematics, English, and biology courses and test their subject knowledge. Almost 86% of students in the state completed the three tests, but the data reflects that students did not retain the course material.
The data could have been confusing at first because WBTV highlighted the test failure percentages, which meant that the higher the percentage, the worse North Carolina high school students performed.
For the math test, 66% of high school students failed, which was higher than the previous year’s score of 48% of students who failed the test. In other words, only 34% of high school students passed the math test during the virtual instruction-only semesters.
Biology was not much better; 54% of students failed the test. That meant that 46% of students passed the test. The previous year saw a 42% failure percentage among high school students.
In the English test, 42% of students had failed the exam, which was a one-percent increase from the previous school year. Before the pandemic, 29% of students failed the English test, which is a telling statistic.
One parent, Jane Minovsakaya, said, “It’s no longer working, they need a better system.” She added, “They need in person learning or find a better way to present the information on Zoom for four hours.”
The tests are also given to elementary-aged schoolchildren in the state, and those results were similar because the majority of third graders who took the reading test “scored at the lowest level.”
In short, virtual and online learning failed students in North Carolina, if not across the United States. Yet powerful teachers’ unions are ignoring the data, and the science, in resisting school re-opening plans across the United States.