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Have students actually retained (or cared to retain) information in the 2020-2021 school year?
May 12, 2021
As previously stated, as of September of 2020, students were behind by three months on average and are now nearing eight. Due to roughly four months of disruption after March 2020, some suggest that students did not learn any new material once the pandemic hit, and some may have slipped backward to an inoperable point.
Mya Collins, freshman, virtual
“I feel that the state of the world makes it significantly harder for students to retain information, not just because of the obvious struggles of online school, but what’s going on outside of that. There are so many outside factors that all play a role in how hard it’s been to retain information…I went from a student who could easily do well on a test just by paying attention in class to someone who memorizes for a test then forgets everything in a few days. I’ve lost the joy in learning which doesn’t make me as eager to retain information.”
Janjabill Tahsin, sophomore, virtual
“I’m not the perfect student. Even though my grades say otherwise, I really don’t pay attention in a lot of my classes because it’s just so hard to stare at the screen for this many hours a day, especially with topics that just don’t seem interesting to you. And while I understand that it’s important, when you have distractions like your phone, family, anything, it can be a big contributing factor as to why a lot of kids are failing or resorting to acts of cheating. In general, it’s like at this point we just learn enough to pass the tests and forget it the day after. You could say Ii guess I learned about it,’”
Seth Tavormina, junior, virtual
“Learning all virtual has probably affected me a decent amount. It feels like it’s a lot harder to pay attention…and school stuff kinda feels, I guess, optional, is the word i’d use. It doesn’t feel as much of a concrete priority.”
Meadow Drapala, junior, in person
“This quarter I just switched to in person, but I can tell that when I was all virtual, sometimes I would not pay attention, I would get distracted easily with stuff going on in my house and my phone. It was definitely harder to retain any knowledge. Especially with math. I was kind of struggling, but now I think it’s so easy now that I’m in person”
Kiyoshi Brown-Braun, senior, in person
“Personally I didn’t really learn as much as I would normally due to half of my classes being more in-person focused and hands on…also the teachers really just let us slack; I’m not complaining about that though.”
Joseph Wilson, senior, virtual
“Absolutely not. I mean, we’re on a computer and the computer has a lot of open access, you can just say ‘oh well I don’t know the answer to this question, I can just look that stuff up.’ It’s just right there.”
Mrs. Rennie, Health and Physical Education Teacher
“I have certain students, older students who are now working almost full time, they’re just doing the work that they have to do cause they’re busy saving up for college, helping their family, a lot of time their focus is more on their job and bringing in money and getting through their last bit of classes to graduate. Some seniors who come in just really want to get those last months of experience to close out their careers here at RV. If they’re remembering what they learn, I don’t know…”
Ms. Perkins, Health, Driver’s Ed and Physical Education Teacher
“I have kids that do absolutely nothing, no work, take a test and get an A on it. They know the material, but they don’t have the motivation to do the work. Or maybe they are finding it difficult to make a schedule at home. Personally, I really need a schedule to stay on track. If I don’t need to do it right then, then I’m not doing it! So I know if I were a student during this time, I’d be really struggling…I know I need that structure or else I get really lazy and procrastinate. So I can only imagine how hard it is for some kids who don’t have that self motivation to regulate.”
Mr. Pliskin, Theatre/Fine Arts Teacher
“Content-wise, absolutely not. On the tested subjects, if you were a bad student in English to begin with, you probably really suck now. With math, I remember missing a few days and not understanding, it’d be devastating. I’m sure it’s much worse now and the data shows that.”
Mr. Martin, Principal
“I don’t think it’s all or nothing, I do think that some kids are completely ‘playing school’… certain kids are better at compliance. They’re masters at knowing exactly what their teachers want…they do what they need to do, which is different from deep rooted learning. They become really really good at these Google meets, they get really good at knowing when to actually pay attention. It’s ‘blah blah blah, anyway this will be on your test tomorrow’ and that’s the only part they listen to. I think that long term, they might have a good report card, but I am concerned about their long term learning.”